Spurs to require masks for fans; Popovich blasts Abbott’s decision, calling it ‘mystifying’ and ‘ignorant’

Spurs sticking to plan despite Abbott’s order to lift statewide mask mandate

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich walks off the court after he was ejected during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift a statewide mask mandate, the San Antonio Spurs organization says masks will be required for all guests who attend events at the AT&T Center.

For the first time since last March, the Spurs will allow fans at a limited capacity starting on March 12.

Tom James, Spurs Sports and Entertainment Vice President of Communications issued a statement to KSAT-12 that read:

We have worked with local, regional and national COVID experts to determine the best way to safely welcome fans back to the AT&T Center. Based on the recommendations from these experts and NBA guidelines, we will continue with our announced plans to limit capacity at Spurs games to 3,200 fans and require masks for all guests attending events at the AT&T Center.”

SSE announced Monday the organization had made several health and safety changes to policies, procedures and operations within the AT&T Center before deciding to allow fans to return for home games or events at the arena.

Currently, the AT&T Center does not have any events scheduled in the near future except Spurs home games.

The statement was in response to Abbott’s announcement on Tuesday to drop the statewide mask mandate and open businesses at 100% capacity on March 10.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich blasted Abbott’s decision, calling it “mystifying” and “ignorant.”

Popovich said he believes this will now make it more difficult on businesses and owners who are just “trying to do a good job of keeping everybody safe.”

“Of course they want to open up, but getting rid of masks just seems ignorant to me. It’s like we have to have instant gratification,” Popovich said. “We have to act like the pandemic is over. We already went through this once and now we’re going to do it again.”

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff also criticized Abbott’s decision as infections continue to spread across the area and state.

Popovich said he believes it will likely lead to more infections and goes against the recommendation of health officials.

“When all of a sudden we act like it’s over with when all the science tells us the opposite, it’s basically like you’re saying, ‘You get infected, you die, that’s the way it goes. We got to open up.’ That’s not the way to do it. This is really ridiculous.”

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