The Green Bay Packers announced Thursday afternoon that Lambeau Field will not be hosting fans for the first two home games of the 2020 season in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that continues to impact the United States.
The Packers are scheduled to host opponents at Lambeau Field twice in the first month of the season, beginning with their home opener against the Detroit Lions in Week 2 and following with a prime-time matchup against the Atlanta Falcons for Monday Night Football in Week 4.
According to the team’s release, the Packers are planning to re-evaluate the situation prior to their third home game of the year — on November 1 against the Minnesota Vikings — but say fan attendance at the remaining home games will “depend on the status of the virus”
“Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans’ energetic support in the stands,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a news release. “Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to host fans for games later in the season, should conditions allow. We will continue to consult with community healthcare and public health officials on the pandemic conditions in our area. We ask our fans to continue to help by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing guidelines.”
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5 Packers Already on COVID-19 Reserve LIst
The Packers have placed five players on the COVID-19 reserve list since the team began reporting for coronavirus testing last week. Outside linebacker Greg Roberts was the first name added to the list, while veteran kicker Mason Crosby, second-year tight end Jace Sternberger, defensive lineman Treyvon Hester and long snapper Hunter Bradley followed behind him.
Being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list does not necessarily mean a player tested positive for the coronavirus, as the roster designation can also mean a player simply came into contact with someone who tested positive. Teams are not allowed to specify which applies to a player that has been placed on the list.
According to the NFL Players Association, 56 players have tested positive for the coronavirus since players began reporting to their respective training camps, while dozens more have voluntarily opted out of the upcoming season due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.
Funchess the Lone Packer to Opt-Out of 2020
On a positive note, the Packers made it to the other side of Thursday afternoon’s opt-out deadline with no more of their players electing to sit out the 2020 season.
All NFL players were given the opportunity to opt-out of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic with many — including Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess — citing family as their reason for deciding not to play. Funchess was one of the Packers’ few free-agent signings this offseason and provided an experienced presence for their young receiving corps, but now will not properly join the team until the 2021 season.