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Shanahan decries disadvantage of no fans at 49ers home games

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The 49ers on Tuesday released an optimistic statement about the state's framework toward allowing fans inside Levi's Stadium this season.

Shortly thereafter, Santa Clara County declared that fans would not be allowed to watch 49ers home games "anytime soon" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers will be at an inherent disadvantage if they go on the road to face teams with their home fans in the stadiums while not holding any home-field advantage at Levi's Stadium.

"Not having the fans in your stadium is a huge deal, something that most of the league’s had to deal with this year," Shanahan said. "It seems like most teams aren’t going to have to deal with it as much, going forward."

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Shanahan said he feels as if the 49ers' fan base played a huge role in the team's success last season. After several seasons of what appeared to be fan apathy toward the 49ers after moving into their new home in Santa Clara, the 49ers went 13-3 last season and cruised through the NFC playoffs with a pair of 17-point home playoff victories.

"Our fans are a huge part of every team, but I feel it a little bit different here than everywhere I’ve been," Shanahan said. "The feeling they brought our team last year -- and, hopefully, we did the same -- really changed this building. I thought we earned a lot of that, and it’s been tough not to have them this year."

 

Shanahan seemed to express confusion about why restaurants can be open in some locations in the Bay Area for indoor dining, while the 49ers are not allowed to have a limited number of fans at their stadium for games.

"I’m real disappointed for them, our families," Shanahan said. "I understand the issues and stuff, I just hope that we can eventually figure out something.

"I know our families are allowed to go to restaurants right now and sit inside and socially distance there while watching the game, so hopefully, eventually, we can figure out a way to do that in our outdoor stadium, where we can at least get some people like they are in the restaurants."

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He said, as a worst-case scenario, he would like to have family members be able to attend games.

"I know how bad we want them to be a part of that," Shanahan said. "So hopefully they keep talking and figure out a way they feel safe like other places and I know it’ll help us if we do."