Philadelphia officials said Tuesday that fans would not be allowed to attend professional sports games — meaning the Eagles will not have spectators at any home games in 2020.
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the coronavirus safety protocols for the major sports leagues “look pretty good,” but it would not be safe to have people in the stands.
“I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they’re proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there,” Farley said. “I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
The city on Tuesday announced a moratorium on all large public events that require public permits through February. Events at private venues, including sports stadiums, aren’t affected by that ban. But asked about Eagles games at a virtual news conference, officials said the teams would be allowed to play without crowds.
The city has been in communication with the Eagles, said Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and has “told them our expectations are that they don’t have fans.”
Abernathy said NFL guidelines also “remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don’t expect any issues.”
The Phillies had already announced that they would play without fans in attendance.
Private events at indoor venues aren’t prohibited, but under the city’s current guidelines, any events of 25 or more people indoors are not permitted. All theaters are still closed under health orders.
In response to the city’s update, the team changed the Eagles Autism Challenge, a fundraiser for autism research and awareness entering its third year, to an all-virtual format set for Sept. 26. The event usually has bike rides, 5K runs, walks, and other outdoor community activities.
“Although we won’t be together physically, we look forward to uniting our community virtually with the goal of taking action for autism,” the team said in a statement. “Please be assured that while the event will be virtual, we are working diligently to create an incredible experience for participants.”