In a press release issued by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, the state will increase its indoor and outdoor capacities to 50% and 75% respectively. Here’s part of the statement issued:
“The Wolf Administration today announced that event and gathering maximum occupancy limits will be increased to 50 percent for indoor events and gatherings and 75 percent for outdoor events and gatherings effective Monday, May 17 at 12:01 AM.”
That statement should allow many more fans to be at Heinz Field than last year — 75% of the stadium’s capacity is 51,300 fans. Last season, a very limited number of fans were allowed to attend just a handful of home games, before they were prohibited entirely for the end of the season. Pittsburgh was the only NFL team not to have fans for their playoff game, an upset loss to the Cleveland Browns.
This relaxing of rules is happening across the country as COVID cases, overall, begin to fall. While perhaps not fully back to normal, football will have significantly larger crowds this season. That will help league revenue. While it probably won’t cause the 2022 salary cap to explode, it should bump it up from 2021 levels. The current projection for next year’s cap is around $200 million, nearly an $18 million increase of where things sit today. Some have speculated the cap will take its first leap forward come the 2023 season.
Last week, Governor Wolf said COVID mitigations would be fully lifted come May 31st. Meaning, public venues would be allowed to function at max capacity. That will allow Heinz Field to have 100% of its fans back in stands, reaching its full 68,400 crowd. However, the mask requirement is set to remain in place until Pennsylvania reaches a 70% fully vaccinated threshold. As of yesterday, 36.4% of PA citizens have met that mark. 52.7% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“During the pandemic, all Pennsylvanians have worked collaboratively to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the Governor said. “We must continue that same mindset during our reopening efforts. I urge each eligible Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated to help protect your neighbors and loved ones as we work to safely reopen our beloved commonwealth communities.”
In Pennsylvania, anyone 16 or older is eligible to get vaccinated.