The Phoenix Suns announced Thursday they will not start the 2020-21 season with fans in attendance.
The move comes due to increased COVID-19 cases in the state.
“Our fans are the lifeblood of the Suns organization, and we want nothing more than to welcome our fans into our newly transformed arena in Downtown Phoenix. The arduous choice to tip off our promising season without fans did not come easily,” Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley said in a press release.
“However, we are exercising an abundance of caution and doing our part to maintain the health and safety of all our stakeholders during this crisis. That said, we will monitor the best available date and science and continue consulting with health care professionals and public officials to help us determine when it is prudent to bring fans back to the arena.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services on Thursday reported 4,928 new coronavirus cases with 73 additional deaths, bringing the state’s documented totals to 387,529 COVID-19 infections and 7,154 fatalities.
The Suns added the organization will continue to practice and promote actions that limit the spread of the virus.
This offseason, the arena underwent renovations to better enhance fan experience and update the building.
Phoenix takes on the Los Angles Lakers Dec. 16 and 18 in preseason games at home before hosting the Dallas Mavericks in the team’s season opener on Dec. 23.
Before the Suns’ decision to prohibit fans to start the season, the Arizona Cardinals announced it would not allow fans to State Farm Stadium for its Week 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams based on guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Arizona had allowed 4,200 fans in the stadium during their last two home games. However, with rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the state in November, the team decided against having fans in attendance.