KANSAS CITY, Mo. (NewsNation/Reuters) — Reigning Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs have announced plans to allow some spectators to attend their NFL season-opener against Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium next month.
The Chiefs said Arrowhead would operate at a reduced capacity of about 22%, meaning about 17,000 fans would be allowed in instead of the usual 76,000, and that the plans had been approved by public health officials, NewsNation affiliate WDAF-TV reported.
“Included in the approved plans are important health and safety protocols that the club … has developed for fans who will attend games at Arrowhead Stadium,” the Chiefs said in a statement.
All spectators will have to wear masks and follow physical distancing protocols, cash transactions will not be allowed at concession stands, and hand sanitizers will be placed throughout the stadium.
“As the season progresses, the club will follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts, with the potential that local regulations will allow for different capacities at different points during the season,” the Chiefs said.
For some Kansas City Chiefs fans like Phil Morris, the decision is the right move.
“It’s a great idea,” Morris said to WDAF-TV. “Any way to get our fans back in there and cheer them on is what we need to do.”
Fan Frankie Guzman said he wouldn’t feel safe walking back into Arrowhead.
“Honestly I still don’t feel safe enough, even with the new rules they’re applying,” Guzman said. “I still wouldn’t be comfortable going to the stadium, not until there’s some type of improvements on this whole pandemic.”
The NFL has allowed teams to make their own decisions on whether fans can attend games this season, based on local guidelines and health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Several teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, have already announced plans to allow their stadiums to operate at a reduced capacity this season.
Other teams, including the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, are unlikely to have fans present during their first few games of the season due to local restrictions on public gatherings.
Reuters contributed to this report.