Chiefs plan for 22 per cent capacity, Falcons to start season without fans

The Kansas City Chiefs NFL American football franchise has announced that Arrowhead Stadium will operate at 22 per cent capacity for the 2020 season, while the Atlanta Falcons will play without fans during September due to COVID-19.

The Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions, will offer single-game tickets for the first three fixtures to season ticket members from August 24. Tickets will be sold in grouped pods of seats, with fans able to purchase as many as six seats in the same pod.

Arrowhead Stadium seats around 76,000 fans, which would mean around 16,700 spectators would be allowed in if the venue opens at 22 per cent capacity. The reduced capacity will apply for the first three games, after which point the situation will be assessed.

Fans will be required to attend with known guests sitting within their purchased pod. If any tickets remain unsold, a purchase opportunity will be made for Jackson County residents, followed by the general public.

The announcement has been made under the guidelines established by the NFL and have been approved by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and senior medical officials in the city. The Chiefs will continue to follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts as the season progresses.

Enhanced cleaning and sanitisation measures will be in place during games, putting the Chiefs on course to achieving accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC). High-touch areas will be cleaned and sanitised before, during and after each game with hospital-grade disinfectants, while all staff members will go through a health screening, which will include a questionnaire and temperature check.

Staff will also wear personal protective equipment, while physical distancing measures will be in place in seating areas and high-traffic areas. Hand sanitisation stations have been set up throughout the stadium, which will be completely cashless to minimise contact between guests and staff, while the stadium will be divided into zones to eliminate crossover.

Additionally, fans will be required to wear masks and the Chiefs will provide commemorative masks to all supporters who attend the team’s first three games. All bags will be prohibited, along with smoking, vaping and spitting of any kind.

Meanwhile the Falcons and Major League Soccer team Atlanta United have announced that any games scheduled for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in September will go ahead without fans.

Team and stadium officials will work with health officials in the coming weeks to determine whether fans will be allowed at events scheduled from October onwards.

The decision will affect the Falcons’ home games against the Seattle Seahawks on September 13 and Chicago Bears on September 27. United had already announced that it would not play with fans for home games on August 22, August 29 and September 2 and this will now cover any additional home fixtures it has in September as part of the second phase of the MLS season.

Image: Senior Airman Carlin Leslie