In a statement, the team’s management said that the health and safety of its fans and employees is of paramount importance and, as such, it does not see a way forward in which its season can proceed with supporters in the stands while a deadly pandemic rages.
The team had worked with health officials from both Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland, where its home stadium, FedEx Field, is located. However, after considering the volatility of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization decided that the plan wasn’t feasible.
“This decision was not an easy one, but after several discussions with federal, state and local officials — along with input from some of the nation’s foremost medical experts, based right here in the nation’s capital — we are confident that it is the right one,” the statement reads, in part.
Further, the team promised to explore “new and innovative ways” to incorporate fan presence into its games.
Should things change with regard to the COVID-19 situation, the team said, it will re-evaluate the decision to exclude fans.
According to WUSA-TV, the team has begun working with season ticket holders and those who have purchased single-game tickets to discuss how they’ll be compensated for the money they’ve spent.
When the full gravity and severity of the coronavirus pandemic became known, professional football was comfortably in its off-season, with the Super Bowl having concluded weeks earlier and next season months away. As such, the NFL didn’t have to make any immediate decisions about the status of its 2020-2021 season.
Now, however, the season is right around the corner, and the league is starting to feel the effects of the pandemic, even though Week 1’s kickoff is still weeks away. For example, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, some big-name players have publicly expressed doubt about whether or not the league can guarantee their safety, since, at the time, none of the teams had announced whether or not fans would be in attendance.
Meanwhile, according to Yahoo Sports, other NFL teams have made a wide range of decisions when it comes to whether or not to have fans in the stands. The Atlanta Falcons intend to limit attendance to between 10,000 and 20,000, a small fraction of the 71,000 seating capacity at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Green Bay Packers, on the other hand, will have no fans, at least for their first two home games, and will, like the Washington team, re-evaluate that decision when the time comes.