Welcome Home: Steelers to Host 5,500 Fans vs. Eagles Sunday Under New PA Rules

Posted on October 6, 2020 - Last Updated on October 19, 2020

Take out those Terrible Towels. Get ready to hit those high notes for “Fly, Eagles, Fly.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that the state is loosening some coronavirus-caused restrictions on crowd limits. A sliding scale will be used to determine capacity limits for an amended order that starts on Friday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m. Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement that 5,500 seats in the stadium’s lower bowl will be available, with priority given to season ticket holders. All fans who attend must wear masks and social distance — and tailgating will not be permitted in the parking lots.

Updated capacity gathering limits in Pennsylvania

Gov. Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine amended existing COVID-19 orders to allow for adjusted capacity to gathering limits. Rules for masking and social distancing 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. “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.”

The National Fire Protection Association’s life safety code determines capacity by a venue’s established occupancy limit.

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for outdoor events:

0-2,000 people 25% of Maximum Occupancy
2,001 - 10,000 people 20% of Maximum Occupancy
Over 10,000 people 15% of Maximum Occupancy up to 7,500 people

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for indoor events:

Maximum OccupancyAllowable Indoor Rate
0 - 2,000 people 20% of Maximum Occupancy
2,001 - 10,000 people 15% of Maximum Occupancy
Over 10,000 people 10% of Maximum Occupancy up to 3,750 people

Rooney ready for fans at Heinz Field

Rooney told the Post-Gazette on Sept 27 he hoped to have fans at Heinz Field when the Steelers host the Eagles. The Steelers are 7- or 7.5-point favorites at Pennsylvania online sportsbooks.

“We feel good about our outdoor plan we submitted to the authorities,” Rooney said. “We’re seeing around the country other stadiums having fans and so far not having any major outbreaks of the virus because of that situation. We really think it’s time.”

Other NFL teams to host fans this season include:

  • Dallas
  • Jacksonville
  • Kansas City
  • Houston
  • Miami
  • Tampa Bay
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Denver
  • Carolina
  • Indianapolis
  • New Orleans

However, although the plan is for fans to be in attendance at Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh, things could still change.

“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,” Dr. Levine said. “Public health and safety are our first concern and will always remain as such.”

Eagles hosting fans still uncertain

The Eagles’ next home game at Lincoln Financial Field is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. versus the Baltimore Ravens. Through the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the city has waited an extra few weeks to advance through the three color-coded phases.

Also, Rivers Casino Philadelphia is operating at 25% capacity, whereas the rest of the casinos in PA are operating at 50%. So it’s safe to assume that Philadelphia won’t fall in line immediately with the rest of the state in terms of increased crowd sizes.

Philadelphia City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the city “won’t necessarily adopt new crowd size regulations.”

When fans return to Lincoln Financial Field, they will notice some new additions. Last week, the Eagles and DraftKings entered into an agreement that makes DraftKings the official daily fantasy sports partner and official sports betting partner of the Eagles. DraftKings gets exclusive naming rights to the field club at the Linc. The premium lounge, called the DraftKings Field Club, will be available to ticketed guests.

DraftKings isn’t the only online sportsbook operator that will be making itself at home at the Linc. The Eagles also teamed up with Fox Bet for a multiyear partnership. Fox Bet’s “nest” at Lincoln Financial Field will be in the form of a 4,000-square-foot lounge and production studio.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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