The Green Bay Packers are bracing for the possibility of having no fans at Lambeau Field during the 2020 season but remain optimistic at least some will be able to attend home games this year.
The Packers announced Friday morning they are still preparing to have fans present for home games this upcoming season, but not without new policies and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — including “significantly reduced” capacity and a requirement that all attendees wear face masks.
At the same time, the Packers will also not rule out the possibility of having to leave their stadium empty for the duration of the 2020 season.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) July 3, 2020
Should the Packers proceed with some fans in attendance, they have warned that reduced capacity means they “cannot guarantee that (season) ticket holders in the general bowl and club seats will be able to reserve tickets” for the upcoming season. The Packers are also eliminating some of their ticket packages and, in some cases, automatically refunding money to those who have purchased tickets.
Per the team’s release, Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy wrote a letter to season ticket holders outlining their options for the upcoming season. Ticket holders may either “opt in” for a chance to reserve tickets this year or “opt out” with a full refund or credit for the 2021 season — with no effect on their seats or ticket packages.
The Packers also emphasized “no action by season ticket holders is necessary at this time,” as the team has not yet finalized their full plan and are asking for patience as they continue to adapt to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The new guidelines and safety measures come as the nation continues to struggle with the COVID-19 virus, setting global records over the past week for new positive cases. More than 2.8 million positive cases have been reported in the United States since February with a national death toll that, as of July 3, had exceeded 130,000.
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Lambeau Leap is Already Off the Table in 2020
The NFL and its teams have been regularly adjusting their plans for 2020 since the coronavirus outbreak shut down sports back in early March, with some league-wide measures already having an impact on this year’s experience at Lambeau Field.
A few weeks ago, Ben Fischer of the Sports Business-Journal reported the NFL had informed its team presidents that fans would not be allowed in the first six to eight rows of any stadium this year for the safety of those on the sidelines. Indirectly, the measure means the grounding of all Lambeau Leaps for touchdown-scoring Packers in 2020.
The tradition has been practiced at Lambeau Field ever since former safety LeRoy Butler took flight after a touchdown return against the Raiders in 1993, but even the Lambeau Leap’s creator understands safety — especially for fans — must come first.
“Obviously, the fans being there is what it’s all about. I want the fans to be safe,” Butler said, via Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated. “(The players) will be protected. We’ve got the best health care. I don’t want the fans to get sick. If they can’t be safe, then I wouldn’t want fans there. So, I’m OK with it. I’m OK with it because this has affected everybody.”