Pa. Governor Makes Decision on Fans at Heinz Field

Heinz-Field-no-fans

Joe Sargent/Getty Images Heinz Field during the game between the Houston Texans and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 27, 2020.

On Tuesday morning Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced new guidelines for indoor and outdoor gathering limits in Pennsylvania.

Per Elizabeth Worthington, reporter for WNEP Newswatch 16 (Scranton), maximum occupancy is determined by venue size and whether it’s an indoor or outdoor venue.

The above chart would seem to indicate that the Pittsburgh Steelers can now host up to 7,500 fans at Heinz Field, if the organization so chooses.

Under the current guidelines (which go into effect on Friday October 9), outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of more than 10,000 people are now allowed “15% of maximum occupancy up to 7,500 people.”

Meanwhile, other mitigation tools remain in place.

“Pennsylvanians must continue to social distance and wear masks as we prepare to fight the virus through the fall and winter,” Gov. Wolf said in a written statement. “Regardless of the size of an event or gathering, those things are still imperative to stopping the spread of COVID. We know everyone has sacrificed in many ways and today’s announcement reflects a gradual adjustment to our lives as we learn how we can do things safely until we have a cure, or an effective vaccine is widely available.”


Steelers Have Yet to Decide on Fans

Per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, there’s no word yet from the Steelers if they will host fans for this month’s home games.

But late last month Steelers owner/team president Art Rooney II said, “We really think it’s time” for fans at Heinz Field.

The Steelers are scheduled to host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday October 11 and the Cleveland Browns on October 18, the third and fourth home games of the 2020 season. After that the team isn’t scheduled to play at home again until November 15th against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’s not a given that the state of Pennsylvania will allow fans at Heinz Field (or Lincoln Financial Field, in Philadelphia) for the reminder of the season. In the above-referenced statement, Dr. Levine said, “We will closely monitor cases and outbreaks and if our case investigation and contact tracing efforts determine that events or gatherings are the source of an outbreak, we can and will dial back these new limits. Public health and safety are our first concern and will always remain as such.”


No Fans Yet in 2020

Pittsburgh has yet to play a game in front of fans this season. There were no fans at MetLife Stadium for the season opener against the New York Giants, per order of the governor of New Jersey.

The Steelers expected to see fans for the first time in 2020 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, but the Steelers-Titans game originally scheduled for October 4 was postponed and rescheduled for Week 7.

During this past offseason, Forbes magazine projected that the Steelers would lose $156 million in stadium revenue if Heinz Field remained empty for the entire 2020 season.

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