City Officials Rule That No Fans Will Be Allowed at Eagles Home Games in 2020
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN that Philadelphia's decision will not affect the league's 31 other teams
Philadelphia city officials have ruled that no sports fans will be allowed in the stands at Philadelphia Eagles games for the 2020 season due to safety concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As reported by NBC10 Philadelphia, the city previously announced that they are canceling public events of more than 50 people through February 2021, although events at private venues — including sports stadiums — aren’t affected by that ban.
Health officials helped influence the city's decision on fans getting to watch Eagles games in person.
"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Echoing Abernathy's statement, Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley shared his optimism with the publication that he believes the coronavirus safety protocols for the sports games and their players "look pretty good," but having fans in the stands would not be a smart idea.
“I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they’re proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there,” Farley said. “I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN that Philadelphia's decision will not affect the league's 31 other teams, noting that they are "gathering information on Philadelphia."
"Decisions on the number of fans at stadiums will be determined on a market-by-market basis," McCarthy said.
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson reacted to the news during an appearance on NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Wednesday, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
"I really don't know what to say — as far as what we do in practice — but we thrive on the fans' energy and their presence, so hearing the news yesterday was definitely shocking," he shared. "As far as my reaction, I'm really speechless for what to say. It's a really weird situation for us."
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The news comes about after the Patriots announced Tuesday that they expect Gillette Stadium to operate at 20 percent capacity for 2020 home games.
The decision is currently pending state and local approval but new changes will be put in place if the stadium does allow guests.
According to the report, face coverings will be required at all times inside the stadium while ticketed parties will be asked to maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from other parties. Additionally, the first eight rows of stadium seats will not be used.