Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf on Monday announced revised COVID-19 restrictions that could clear a path toward fans attending games at Wells Fargo Center.
Wolf announced that the revised restrictions will allow for 20 percent of maximum occupancy at outdoor events and 15 percent of maximum occupancy at indoor events, provided at least six feet of distance can be maintained between all attendees and employees.
If the city of Philadelphia also was to ease restrictions, then it could open the door for the Sixers and Flyers to host fans for the first time since last March. Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley said last month that the city was likely to ease attendance limits in March. He noted Philadelphia’s event limits cannot be less restrictive than the state’s.
“We’re ready to safely welcome fans back to Broad Street, and as soon as the city further eases its restrictions, we will have Flyers and 76ers fans in the building within days," Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center, said in a press release. "We’re speaking directly with city leaders this afternoon in our continuing effort to make that happen as soon as possible. We’ve invested millions of dollars in health and safety advancements, we’ve worked with public health experts, and we’ve learned the best practices of other arenas that have safely welcomed fans back already. We’re ready to safely put hundreds of our part-time employees back to work and bring our fans back to Broad Street.”
A source told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jordan Hall last month that, when fans are permitted to return, the official number will be determined by the arena, Sixers and Flyers.
Though the allowed maximum capacity for Wells Fargo Center increased last week from 250 to 500 people, that change did not immediately lead to the arena welcoming fans. In a statement, the arena said that more than 500 employees would be required to accommodate the return of fans.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on both the Sixers’ and Flyers’ seasons. The Flyers had four games postponed in February after multiple COVID-19 cases on the team, while the Sixers were shorthanded for several games in January after Seth Curry tested positive.
The same is very much true of the United States, where approximately 510,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Before the NBA All-Star break, the Sixers have games at Wells Fargo Center Monday and Wednesday against the Pacers and Jazz, respectively. The Flyers will play three games in Pittsburgh before returning to Philadelphia on March 7 for a matchup with the Capitals.
Following approval from Wolf, the Penguins announced that they will reopen PPG Paints Arena at 15 percent capacity and have fans in attendance for Tuesday's game against the Flyers.