MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL American football teams, will open at full capacity next season, while the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium will also operate without restrictions.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has given the green light for the 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium to stage games without social distancing, while masks will not be a requirement for fans.
The Giants and Jets released a joint statement welcoming Governor Murphy’s announcement. The teams said they would continue to work to ensure the return of fans is accomplished in a “safe and responsible way”.
MetLife Stadium can begin operating at full capacity from May 28. In a separate statement, the stadium said it is currently reviewing policies and protocols ahead of the venue’s reopening.
Governor Murphy’s announcement comes as COVID-19 restrictions ease in the state of New Jersey, with infection rates falling across the US amid the continued roll-out of vaccinations. Indoor venues in the state will also be able to open at full capacity from June 4.
MetLife Stadium did not welcome fans during the 2020 season due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in New Jersey.
Meanwhile, the Panthers will open Bank of America Stadium at full capacity next season.
Tom Glick, president of Tepper Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Panthers, confirmed the news yesterday (Monday) after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently lifted most indoor mask requirements, mass gathering limits and social distancing guidelines.
Masks will not be required at Bank of America Stadium but will be offered to any fan who wants one. There will be no separate sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans, and temperature checks will no longer be required. Proof of vaccination will also not be required.
The Panthers will continue to implement health and safety plans carried out during the 2020 season, including enhanced cleaning, hand sanitisation stations throughout the stadium, disinfecting robots and mobile ticketing.
The Panthers started the 2020 campaign without fans at the 75,000-seat Bank of America Stadium but the team was able to welcome around 5,240 supporters later in the season.
Fellow NFL team the San Francisco 49ers recently detailed plans to return to full capacity at Levi’s Stadium from next season. The 49ers were one of several teams to play the entirety of the 2020 campaign without fans.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said that he expects all stadiums to open at full capacity next season as the COVID-19 situation in the US continues to ease.