You Won't See These At NFL Games Anymore
If you've watched National Hockey League games since they resumed this month, you've noticed a big difference: NHL teams have been playing without fans, with covers stretched across arena seats to obscure the absence of cheering crowds.
The NFL just announced that even more fundamental personnel will be missing when American football games in September.
CBS News reports that because of the coronavirus pandemic, the league will limit the number of people who will have field access this season. No longer allowed: Cheerleaders, mascots and flag runners, network sideline reporters and TV reporters.
"At this point, you might be wondering who's not banned from the sideline," said CBS Sports on Wednesday. "Besides the obvious groups—like players and officials—each television network will be able to have essential employees at field level. Each broadcast network will be allowed to have up to 46 employees on the field for each game. Up to six employees from NFL Films will also be given field access."
Are fans banned too?
Stadiums will be allowed to cover the first six to eight rows of seats near the field with tarps to potentially limit player exposure to the virus from fans. How many spectators will be allowed—or whether they're allowed at all—depends on each locality. Some states are allowing smaller crowds; others none at all. The NFL is allowing each team to set the capacity of its own home stadium.
Expect face masks, socially distanced tailgating
As for the health of the players themselves, NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer announced on June 16 that players will be tested for coronavirus at least three times a week.
NFL games are slated to resume on Sept. 10, when the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Houston Texans with limited in-person attendance. Arrowhead Stadium will be limited to 22 percent capacity for the game (which will still a total of 15,000 spectators.
According to Yahoo! Sports, all spectators will be required to wear a face mask when not eating or drinking, and smoking and spitting are banned. Fans are asked to bring their own mask, but the Chiefs organization announced it would provide a commemorative mask to everyone who attends the team's first three games.
Although the NFL hasn't announced league-wide guidance on tailgating, the Chiefs have announced their own restrictions for the season opener: Tailgating will be allowed in the parking lot, but only with physical distancing between groups. Fans are "encouraged" to wear masks there as well, the team says.
And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.