Fans will be allowed in the stands at Ravens and Saints games beginning Sunday, as local authorities have given the franchises approvals to let people in their respective buildings for the first time in 2020. More than half of the league’s teams are now allowing at least some attendance, though restrictions remain tight for safety reasons amid the coronavirus.
Baltimore announced it would be allowed to have fans at M&T Bank Stadium on Friday, as the city approved plans following Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to allow fans at outdoor events earlier this month. They will have approximately 4,300 fans in the stands for Sunday’s game against AFC North rivals Pittsburgh Sunday, with 3,000 in the lower bowl and 800 in the club level. The team has approval for up to 10 percent of the stadium’s capacity, but is not taking advantage of the upper bowl yet, as plans for using that space were not included in their initial submission for approval to the state.
“We are excited to welcome fans back to M&T Bank Stadium,” Ravens President Dick Cass stated. The team has allowed as many as 250 friends and family of players and staff to attend games thus far, partially serving as a trial run for the health and safety plans they will be implementing to bring fans back.
In New Orleans, plans are for a phased-in ramp-up of fans in the stands for the initial period, agreed upon between the team and the mayor. Fans (outside of a small number of friends and family) were not allowed for three games, but up to 3,000 will be allowed Sunday. November games will see up to 6,000 fans allowed, with plans for up to 15,000 allowed at games beginning in December, assuming local health and guidelines don’t force changes to those plans.
“It is imperative as noted that everyone do their part to make sure all of the progress made by our community in our fight against COVID-19 is not lost and we have no setbacks,” the Saints said in a statement. “This plan is based on creating a healthy and safe environment for our fans to arrive, enjoy and depart Saints home games safely.”
With the two teams bringing fans in this weekend, the NFL has more teams allowing in-person attendance than not as it enters its seventh week of play.