According to a report from TMZ, the Miami Dolphins have received permission to open its stadium at full capacity, which contains 65,000 seats. Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis reportedly granted the team permission to open Hard Rock Stadium as it normally operated, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor thought fans would appreciate being able to watch games in person, and that it would be something special. The entire state of Florida recently removed all COVID-19 arena restrictions.
"Look, we've been watching sports on TV. But when you watch the NBA with an empty arena, or Major League Baseball with an empty stadium, it's just not quite the same. I know this isn't going to be people falling from the rafters here, but I think it is something that will give people a little bit of hope," DeSantis said.
Despite the clearance to pack the seats at the next home game, the Dolphins have stated they will be holding off doing so. The next time the club will have home-field advantage will be on October 25, and Miami still plans on limiting the number of people inside to 13,000, according to a report from 247 Sports.
The decision comes right after the Green Bay Packers announced it will be keeping Lambeau Field empty until further notice. The Packers released a statement this morning which explained the choice in greater detail.
"Due to the concerning increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Green Bay area and across Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers today announced that the organization has put an indefinite hold on hosting fans for games at Lambeau Field this season," the statement read.
Fans were split on whether the recent restrictions being lifted was an effective or poor decision. Citizens that defended DeSantis observed that lifting the guidelines gives the community an opportunity to live normally again, but does not force or require anyone to leave quarantine if they do not want to. Others were in awe that he would make such a decision in the midst of coronavirus cases remaining prominent across the country and within the NFL.
According to reports from ESPN, two New England Patriots players, Stephon Gilmore and Cam Newton, tested positive for the virus. Gilmore's results came after the team traveled to Kansas City and faced the Chiefs. However, the Chiefs claimed that all tests issued on their players came back negative on Wednesday morning. The Las Vegas Raiders have also placed defensive tackle Maurice Hurst on its reserve/COVID-19 list, which does not necessarily mean he has the disease. It can also mean that he came in close contact with someone who does have the virus.