NFL Announces Fans Will Be Required to Wear Masks to Games Amid Pandemic

Fans attending NFL games will be required to wear masks in stadiums this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the step Wednesday:

The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reported on July 1 that Cathy Lanier, the NFL’s senior vice president of security, was part of a group working on recommendations to limit the spread of the coronavirus at games. Mandatory masks were referenced as a possibility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the usage of cloth masks could help slow the spread of the pandemic.

Many will argue that letting fans into the stadiums, even with mask and social distancing guidelines in place, would be a mistake. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed to start the summer after states relaxed their coronavirus-related restrictions.

The NFL has yet to take a similar step, and Kaplan reported on June 23 the league would let individual teams set their own capacity limits based on orders from state and local officials.

The Atlanta Falcons, for example, announced Wednesday their plan to have up to 10,000 to 20,000 fans inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the upcoming season. The team averaged 71,601 fans for its eight home games in 2019.

Kaplan noted the NFL’s revenue could fall by more than $3 billion if the league were to hold a full 16-game regular season plus the playoffs in empty stadiums.

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