Sunday marked the first game the 49ers played in front of fans this season due to restrictions on mass gatherings across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic, and some 49ers fans took advantage.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome increased capacity to 6,000 fans for the New Orleans Saints' game against the 49ers, and Bay Area News Group's Cam Inman spotted 49ers fans in attendance.
Fans have not been allowed at Levi's Stadium all season due to restrictions on mass gatherings in Santa Clara County. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last month that it would allow outdoor stadiums and concert venues in counties in the orange tier to open at 20 percent capacity, and the 49ers hoped they would be able to sell tickets. Santa Clara County quickly announced audiences wouldn't be allowed "anytime soon," and coronavirus cases have spiked locally -- as well as nationally -- since then. The county could be placed in the more restrictive red tier as soon as this week.
Every other stadium the 49ers have played in prior to Week 10 was under similar restrictions. The Saints cut a deal with New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell to first allow 3,000 fans in the Superdome for a game against the Carolina Panthers last month. Attendance could increase to up to 15,000 for games in December if COVID-19 trends remain stable in the city. Fans attending are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
On Friday, the city's emergency preparedness campaign tweeted they were seeing "a concerning increase in cases" and advised residents to avoid crowds.
As of Sunday, New Orleans' seven-day rolling average of new cases (61.14) is nearly double the average of what it was then the deal for the Saints to play in front of fans was announced (35.57). The city's website warns that Orleans Parish is at risk of an outbreak.
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. are the only other stadiums the 49ers will play in this season in which fans are allowed. The Dallas Cowboys announced nearly 32,000 fans attended last week's game, while the Arizona Cardinals were allowed to have as many as 4,200 fans attend Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.
If the 49ers fans in attendance traveled from California, they will need to isolate for two weeks. Newsom, as well as the Governors of Oregon and Washington, issued a travel advisory Friday calling on citizens returning to their states or visitors entering to self-quarantine for 14 days. Newsom, Gov. Kate Brown and Gov. Jay Inslee also urged against nonessential, out-of-state travel.
With over 156,000 new infections, Saturday marked the 11th straight day in which the United States has surpassed 100,000 new infections. The U.S. has more total confirmed cases (11,008,880) and more new cases over the last week (965,509) than any country in the world.