Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the City of Philadelphia is prohibiting any large public events for more than six months in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, installing a cap of 50 people on any event held on public property. The halt, which is through February 28, 2021, could spike the possibility of NFL games or other similar events until next spring, though it doesn’t explicitly ban them.
“The health and safety of Philadelphia residents, workers, and visitors must be our top priority,” said the mayor, a democrat. “A timeline for when such activities can resume will be communicated as soon as possible.”
As Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Ballpark are both owned by the city, the executive order may cement home games for the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies as going on with no fans in the stands for the coming Major League Baseball and National Football League seasons. Wells Fargo Stadium is owned by Comcast Spectacor, so this order would not necessarily directly apply to events held there, including Flyers and 76ers games.
In a press conference announcing the executive order, the Mayor indicated that the order would not apply to stadiums, whether city-owned or privately held, but Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Fahey clarified that having fans in the stands would not be allowed at this time based on the order.
“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, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
The Eagles organization has not made any mention of its plans relative to the Mayor’s order, save for announcing that it would be changing an upcoming fundraiser to an online-only format. The Eagles are one of several NFL teams who have given fans the option of pausing their existing season ticket accounts for 2020 without penalty, but have not yet gone as far as some franchises who have wiped their existing ticket base clean, with plans to offer tickets on a single game basis to members once capacity is known.