MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thousands of Minnesota were back in the stands on Monday to cheer on the Timberwolves and the Wild.
Both the Xcel Energy Center and Target Center can now accommodate up to 3,000 fans.
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Navares Ladd brought the loudness of several fans to revive the atmosphere at the Wolves game. He kept cheering and talking trash from start to finish.
“It was so exciting,” Ladd said. “I’m over the moon to be here again.”
Other Wolves fans, such as James Mobley, felt the difference of a largely empty arena.
‘It was over. It didn’t feel right for me, but it felt good to be back, you know, looking at the professionals, ”said Mobley.
According to Bri Bauer, the Wolves’ vice president for communications and engagement, fans haven’t enjoyed a game at the Target Center since March last year.
“This is a great day,” said Bauer. ‘We were so excited. We have been working closely with the governor’s office for over a year now and are planning if and when this day will come.
READ MORE: Russell returns with 25 points; Wolves defeat Kings 116-106
Fans should have their masks on when seated in their seats, which are in groups of two to four and remote. Food and drinks are ordered via an app to be collected at a concession stand.
Jason Steidle is the senior executive chef of Levy Restaurants, which oversees concessions at the Target Center.
‘Now we can bring in our great one [employees], ‘Said Steidle. “They have been waiting to get back to work and were very happy to have them back.”
Similar safety measures are being taken by the city at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where the Wild also welcomed fans, including David Kostck, on Monday.
“There are so many health protocols and contactless access,” Kostck said. “I feel safe to come back here and support the team, so it’s good to be back in the building.
Gov. Tim Walz attended the Wolves game on Monday, with plans to go to a Wild game soon.
“They are professionals, they do a great job,” said Walz. “These things are based on some good scientific and health principles. You see the social distance, wearing the mask, things like that. I think I feel comfortable with it but cautiously.
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When asked if it was possible he might decide to call back fans again, Walz said he hopes not. He believes that the roll-out of vaccines is keeping pace with the spread of coronavirus variants.
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