The NFL is currently planning to hold the 2020 season as scheduled, but the Philadelphia Eagles will be doing so without fans in the stands.
“The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The [Philadelphia] Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds,” Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy said Tuesday, according Justine McDaniel, Sean Collins Walsh and EJ Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don’t have fans.”
Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley said it was the right call.
“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,” he said. “There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there. I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
All mass gatherings in Philadelphia that require permits have been banned through February 2021.
“We are gathering information on Philadelphia,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, per Tim McManus of ESPN. “Decisions on the number of fans at stadiums will be determined on a market-by-market basis.”
As of Tuesday, the United States has recorded 3.4 million cases of the coronavirus and 136,319 deaths, per CNN.com. As of July 13, Philadelphia had recorded 27,533 cases of COVID-19, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
To this point, the NFL has maintained that it will be playing out its schedule as planned, with training camps around the league beginning in late July. McCarthy said Monday “there’s no change to our approach” regarding training camps, per Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.
“As we have stated since the pandemic began, our primary focus is on the health and safety of the public, the players and team personnel,” he added. “We continue to work with the NFL Players Association and our joint medical advisors to mitigate the health risk to everyone associated with the NFL.”