One day after city health officials made it sound like Eagles fans would be barred from attending home games for the entire 2020 NFL season, the city offered a clarification.
Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy said Tuesday that the Eagles would "be allowed to play, although without crowds" during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But officials issued a statement Wednesday that seemed to walk that seemed to leave the door open, at least slightly, for the possibility of fans in Lincoln Financial Field at some point during the season:
Clarification on Event Moratorium's Impact on Professional Sports: The City of Philadelphia's event moratorium announced yesterday does not apply to stadiums or other private property. It covers only events that require City permits and take place on public property.
Specifically, with regards to the 2020 NFL season, the Eagles and the City of Philadelphia remain in close communication. Both entities are committed to the health and safety of the players, employees, fans, and community. The City and the Eagles have been working together during this time and will continue to do so. The Eagles have been planning for a variety of scenarios in accordance with League protocols, as well as local and state guidelines.
Currently, in the initial "modified" Green Phase, the City of Philadelphia prohibits outdoor events involving more than 50 people. These restrictions do apply to Lincoln Financial Field. However, this is a fluid situation, and this policy is under constant review. Discussions between the City and the Eagles are ongoing. As the season approaches, the Eagles will continue to communicate directly with their season ticket members and fans.
It sounds like the city doesn't want to say with absolute certainty that fans won't be allowed all season long.
Still, having fans at home games will likely require an improvement in the pandemic's trajectory in Philadelphia.
NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark received a statement from the NFL on Wednesday about the ongoing conversations between the city and the team:
Decisions on the number of fans at stadiums will be determined on market-by-market basis with guidance from public health experts & in accordance with local/state guidelines.
The Eagles are scheduled to play their first home game Sept. 20 against the Rams.
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