DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos are set to open the 2020 season on Sept. 14 against the Tennessee Titans. What’s not known is how many fans will be allowed in Empower Field at Mile High to watch the game due to the coronavirus pandemic. Broncos CEO Joe Ellis has been speaking with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Gov. Jared Polis trying to find an answer to that question.
“They have access to a lot of the same science information, medical professionals, that we through the NFL have access to,” Ellis said in a conference call this week. “I think they’ve both been very deliberate and very cautious in a really good way.
“They’re proceeding with caution and so are we. We want to do the right thing. I don’t have a set number of fans for you nor do I know when fans will be in the stands. We’re going to work through that.”
CBS4 reached out to the governor’s office and the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment on the possibility of fans returning to the stands over a month ago. The wellness of the fans as well as the impact the decision would have on the economy was the number one issue.
“The governor will continue prioritizing the health and safety of Coloradans and working with the state’s top public health experts when making decisions about how to move forward in reopening our economy,” a governor’s spokesperson said on June 26.
“Colorado’s professional sports teams have been great partners throughout the pandemic and we are working closely with them to explore what is possible. Governor Polis will continue to evaluate the situation as it evolves and will use the latest data available to make decisions that prioritize health and safety while balancing the impact to our economy.”
The DDPHE was not able to provide a definitive timeline for when fans would be allowed to return to sporting events, pointing out the challenges they have in the spread of the coronavirus.
“As a city, we must balance the health and safety of our community with the importance of recreational activities that legitimately enhance the well-being of many, like major sporting events,” the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment said in a statement on June 26.
“The deciding factors in allowing large-scale sporting events are many and varied. Agreement and collaboration with state agencies is a must, and some very general points of consideration would include a sustained two-week drop in coronavirus cases, a low number of daily new COVID-19 cases, high coronavirus testing capacity, a low test-positive rate, and the availability of ICU beds, among other indicators and metrics.”
If Broncos fans are allowed to attend the games, they will have to wear face coverings while in the stadium. Brian McCarthy, the league’s vice president of communications, tweeted on June 22, “For those wondering, yes, it is league-wide: fans at NFL games this season will be required to wear face coverings.”
The New York Giants and New York Jets have banned fans from MetLife Stadium until 2021. The Atlanta Falcons are planning to have 10,000 to 20,000 fans at their home games this season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.