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'No Better Time': Sixers, Wells Fargo Center Permitted To Go To 100% Capacity On June 2

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Wells Fargo Center could be a full house again as early as next Wednesday. The Sixers said Friday the arena will be permitted to host 100% capacity effective June 2, the date of a potential Game 5 against the Wizards and when COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in Philadelphia.

The Sixers are currently permitted 50% capacity at the Wells Fargo Center, which is around 9,750 people. The arena holds around 19,500 people. The Sixers lead the series, 2-0, with Games 3 and 4 scheduled for Saturday and Monday in Washington. Their next home game will likely be in front of a packed house.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to Mayor [Jim] Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Health for the work they've done to safely increase capacity to 100% for all businesses, effective June 2," Sixers President of Business Operations Chris Heck said in a statement. "There is no better time to welcome home our passionate and loyal fans than right now, in the midst of what we hope will be a historic playoff run."

"Our fans provide a homecourt advantage that is both unmatched and necessary as we work to bring an NBA championship to Philadelphia," Heck added. "We also want to thank our partners at Comcast Spectacor for their hard work and resilience through the obstacles and challenges the pandemic has presented to our industry over the last year. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated and will continue to use our platform to educate and assist our community."

Wells Fargo Center officials said face masks will still be required.

"Opening our doors to more than 20,000 fans is an important moment for our entire city," Wells Fargo Center President of Business Operations Valerie Camillo said. "At the beginning of the pandemic, the Wells Fargo Center was one of the first and most significant buildings in Philadelphia to close its doors, so our full reopening sends a clear message that our city is back."

Philadelphia officials said Friday that most of the city's COVID restrictions will be lifted on Wednesday, June 2, a week earlier than originally planned, but the indoor mask mandate and 11 p.m. curfew for dining will remain intact until June 11. The city cited falling COVID cases and vaccinations behind the decision.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is lifting its restrictions on Monday.

The Sixers also partnered with city officials to donate hundreds of playoffs T-shirts and autographed items that were given out during three vaccination clinics at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Game 3 of the Sixers' series against Washington is scheduled for Saturday night in D.C.

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