The Green Bay Packers have reversed course as it concerns allowing fans to enter Lambeau Field for at least the first two games of the 2020 regular season scheduled to begin amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In an official team statement, the club announced:
"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities around the country and throughout Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers announced today that Lambeau Field will not host fans at the first two home games this season.
"The Packers' third home game is on Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Whether fans can attend this game and others later in the season will depend on the status of the virus. The Packers will continue to evaluate a variety of factors in consultation with local medical and public health officials.
"As preseason games are not being played this year, conducting the first two regular-season games with only the essential participants will allow the organization to place its full focus on the game itself. This will also allow the organization to implement all the protocols that are in place due to the pandemic."
Packers president Mark Murphy added:
"We are hopeful that we will be able to host fans for games later in the season, should conditions allow. We will continue to consult with community healthcare and public health officials on the pandemic conditions in our area. We ask our fans to continue to help by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing guidelines."
In July, Murphy estimated that the franchise would limit Lambeau Field's capacity to around 10,000 to 12,000 customers for football games played this fall. Thursday's statement indicates that capacity won't be raised if the Packers choose to welcome fans in November. The club explained:
"If the team can transition to hosting fans for games later in the season, Season Ticket Holders who have opted in for the opportunity to purchase tickets this season will receive instructions about the ticket-purchasing process at a later date.
"Previously, the Packers announced that if fans are allowed to attend games, the stadium would only be able to accommodate a significantly reduced capacity. Fans attending games will be required to wear face masks, use only mobile tickets, and are encouraged to wash their hands often. In addition, all concession and Pro Shop purchases will be cashless."
Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Raiders announced they'll play their inaugural season at Allegiant Stadium behind closed doors and without spectators. The New York Giants and New York Jets also expect to play without fans in the stands.