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The Lakers will not allow fans to attend games to start 2020-21 season

The Lakers are the first NBA team to explicitly say they will not be letting fans in the arena to start the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lakers fans celecrtate the teams 18th championship Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Wednesday that after receiving guidance from health officials at both the state and local level, they have no plans to allow fans into their regular season games at Staples Center to begin the 2020-21 NBA season, and will continue to hold fan-less games “until further notice.”

Here is more information, courtesy of the team’s press release:

The health and safety of our fans, players, staff and community are our main priority and we will continue to work with state and local officials to come up with a plan to safely welcome fans back to STAPLES Center in adherence with local, State, and NBA guidelines.

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to coming together, when it is safe to do so, to celebrate the raising of our banner and the quest for another NBA championship.

The 2020-21 game schedule will be announced at a later date.

The Lakers announced this the same day that the NBA reportedly sent all 30 teams in the league a memo on coronavirus precautions they’ve have to take in order to be allowed to have fans:

Given that a local coronavirus case spike in Los Angeles — and an overall rising number of cases nationwide — had already forced the team to indefinitely postpone its championship parade, this is hardly a surprise, but it’s still notable that the Lakers are the first NBA team to come out and say as much.

For comparison, the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday announced the protocols they’d attempt to use to make their games safe to attend:

The reality is that given how strict the California government has been about reopening and the continual rise in daily cases in Los Angeles, the Lakers were unlikely to be allowed to welcome fans in to start next season anyway. With that said, they deserve credit for voluntarily committing to forgo ticket revenue without being forced to, and choosing to protect their fans and this community as a whole instead.

Jeanie Buss and the entire organization should be applauded for doing the right thing here, even it won’t be a popular choice with everyone. We all miss going to basketball games, but this is just the responsible thing to do until this pandemic is better under control.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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