Yesterday, at least two teams announced that starting now, they were indefinitely suspending permission for fans to attend games as the Covid-19 infection total and rate escalates in their area. One of those teams was the cross-state Philadelphia Eagles, so naturally fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers and those who cover the team quickly became curious about what would follow on their end.
According to Steelers spokesperson Burt Lauten, however, at this current point in time, the team does not have and immediate plans to alter their stadium policies regarding attendance, following a latest home game in which they had nearly 6000 fans in attendance.
“At this time, the Steelers plan to continue following the policies and protocols to provide a safe environment to host fans for home games at Heinz Field during the remainder of the 2020 season”, the statement reads, via Jenna Harner of WPXI. “We will continue to consult with public health officials on a regular basis to make sure our plans are consistent with approved and up to date protocols”.
— Jenna Harner (@JennaHarner11) November 16, 2020
As of this writing, the state has not yet made any alterations to its policies regarding attendance for large gatherings such as sporting events in outdoor stadiums. The Steelers have already had the opportunity to play a couple of games at Heinz Field in front of fans since the policies changed to allow them to do so in the middle of the season.
With three home games left in 2020 during the regular season (and hopefully a couple more in the postseason), it remains to be seen whether or not they will have the opportunity to continue to host fans, depending upon potential and currently hypothetical future developments.
Pittsburgh’s next game is on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they are schedule to host the Baltimore Ravens a week from Thursday on Thanksgiving in a primetime game. Needless to say, it would be unfortunate of they would have to play a primetime game against Baltimore in front of an empty stadium.
A large number of teams are not hosting fans for their home games currently, and some of them have been following that protocol all year. The New York Giants and New York Jets have not hosted fans all season. The Detroit Lions recently said that they would no longer host fans as case rose. The Green Bay Packers weeks a go said that plans to host fans were suspended indefinitely.
Currently, the Jaguars are still permitting 25 percent capacity as they head into week 11. Both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns are permitting up to 12,000 fans at home games as of this writing. The Buffalo Bills are the only remaining away game for which there are currently no fans permitted.
And thus, that is currently the only game of the remaining seven for the Steelers regarding which we are currently aware that there will be no fans. Obviously, if something changes down the line, we will have an update on that.