It was unclear if the Cleveland Browns would be permitted to welcome fans to FirstEnergy Stadium for the upcoming "Monday Night Football" divisional showdown with the Baltimore Ravens due to a coronavirus-related curfew that includes a stay-at-home order for residents between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
As Daryl Ruiter noted for Cleveland sports talk radio station 92.3 The Fan, the Browns have received a variance from the Ohio Department of Health that will allow them to host paying spectators for at least Monday's contest.
"I know the importance of sports and it’s important to be able to continue to do things, sports or other things to keep our morale up, but I ask that you enjoy these events responsibly," Ohio Governor Mike DeWine explained during his Thursday COVID-19 briefing. "So please don’t gather inside with people from outside your household and increase the spread of the virus or the risk of spreading the virus."
DeWine added that fans will also be allowed to attend other sporting events, such as Saturday's MLS Cup Final between Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders held at Columbus' MAPFRE Stadium.
The Browns have allowed roughly 12,000 patrons for recent home games, the last of which was a 22-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 22. Cleveland defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans on the road the past two weeks to improve to 9-3 on the campaign.