The Phoenix Suns will be increasing Phoenix Suns Arena’s capacity from roughly 3,000 fans to 5,500 on April 7, per the team.
The escalation will begin when the Suns host the first-place Utah Jazz. The 5,500 is over a third of the building’s seating capacity and all safety protocols will remain in place, including masks being mandatory outside of when eating and drinking.
On Feb. 8, the Suns began allowing fans into the arena after starting the season without them in attendance. A little over a week later, the franchise doubled the capacity from 1,500 to 3,000.
The move by the Suns follows Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifting state COVID-19 mandates, including local mask rules, on March 25. All of the state’s business requirements under the executive order have been changed to recommendations.
Ducey’s decision came as daily COVID-19 reported cases continued to decrease from a winter spike.
After mostly holding above 5,000 reported cases per day in December and January, hitting a peak of 12,410 on Jan. 4, case numbers began to drop in February and have continued in March, with the daily number saying below 1,000 since March 2.
Vaccination eligibility was expanded as well, with all adults becoming eligible for a vaccine shot at state-run sites on March 24 and some county-run sites after a phased approach that focused on the older population and essential workers. As of late March, over 25% of the state’s population had received at least one shot of the vaccine, a number that should greatly rise in the next few months.
The Arizona Diamondbacks originally set a 12,000-fan attendance limit for Chase Field’s opening of the season before raising it to 20,000 for the team’s first three homestands on Tuesday.