Maryland’s college and professional football teams will be allowed to welcome more fans into their stands for future games under an order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday.
“Outdoor sporting venues” — including the home stadiums of the NFL’s Ravens and Washington Football Team — will be allowed to host spectators up to 10% of their typical capacity. That opens the door for the teams to potentially allow a few thousand fans to watch the remainder of their home games.
At recent games, the teams have been limited to just 250 spectators, allocating those seats primarily to relatives of players and team staff.
A spokesperson for the Ravens could not immediately comment on the governor’s order, issued late Friday afternoon.
The Ravens’ next home game is Nov. 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he and the team missed having a crowd of fans cheering them on in person.
“I just want to say, we miss our fans. We have a great fan base; that stadium would’ve been rocking and rolling [Sunday], and they would’ve been fired up for what they saw,” Harbaugh said.
If the NFL teams go forward with inviting more spectators, those fans will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. They must remain in their seat, though guidance from health officials notes: “Spectators may certainly stand so long as they do not leave their seats.”
The order also allows high school and college games at outdoor stadiums to admit up to 25% capacity, under certain conditions.
The college teams must allow only students and staff of the home team to attend the game, and must show that they are testing at least 15% of the student population weekly with a positivity rate of less than 0.25% for the two weeks prior to the game.
Tailgating is prohibited and masks, temperature checks and social distancing are required.
The Naval Academy is the first local college to start a fall season, which they began with no fans in the stands. They were given permission this month to bring the 4,000-member Brigade of Midshipmen into Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
For the Mids’ next home game on Oct. 24, the academy has been preparing for only the mids to attend, without any other fans or spectators.
The University of Maryland plans to play football this fall, with the first home Terps game scheduled for Oct. 30.