NFL American football team the San Francisco 49ers are seeking a base for at least their next two home games after new COVID-19 directives implemented by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department ruled out events being held at Levi’s Stadium.
The County has acted following a surge of COVID-19 cases in the region. On Saturday, Santa Clara County, where Levi’s Stadium is located, reported 760 new cases of the virus and 239 hospitalisations, the highest single-day figures during the pandemic.
As a result, the County has moved to temporarily forbid recreational activities that “involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports.” The directives commence today (Monday) and will remain in place until at least December 21.
The 49ers are due to host the Buffalo Bills on December 7 and Washington Football Team on December 13. Following two road games, the 49ers are due to close their regular season by welcoming the Seattle Seahawks on January 3.
The team said in a statement on Saturday: “We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s emergency directive. We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed.”
The 49ers have been without their fans at Levi’s Stadium this season, last month deciding to continue this policy despite the State of California permitting spectators in outdoor venues for professional sporting events in counties with low COVID-19 infection rates.
The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, citing a league source, said the 49ers and NFL prepared back-up plans before the season began in the event the team had to relocate and have an NFL stadium ready for games.
Santa Clara County was under a stay-at-home order when the NFL schedule was first released in May. At the time, it was said to be noted that the 49ers could play in Arizona at the Cardinals’ home, State Farm Stadium, because the two teams did not have home games on the same day.
NFL.com reported that the most likely option is for the 49ers to play their final three home games at State Farm Stadium, with the Cardinals said to be willing to host them. Another option on the table is said to be relocation to a stadium in Texas.
Image: San Francisco 49ers