Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, announced a special variance allowing the Cleveland Browns to host 6,000 fans at their September home games.
The decision clears the way for spectators at the Browns’ season opener, a Thursday Night Football clash against the Bengals September 17.
NEW: Gov. Mike DeWine has granted a variance to the state sports order for the number of spectators allowed at certain games for the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. pic.twitter.com/KZif5FeoIr
— Spectrum News 1 OH (@SpectrumNews1OH) September 5, 2020
Their September 27th game against the Washington football club is also guaranteed live fans.
While announcing his decision, which also affects the Bengals’ home games, DeWine said,
“This year will certainly be different, but both the Browns and the Bengals have worked exceedingly hard and have made extensive preparations to welcome a limited number of fans to their stadiums safely. These very thorough plans and safety precautions warrant a two-game trial to try and accommodate fans, at reduced capacities with social distancing and masks.”
Attendance is limited to four groups of 1500 fans with distinct entrance paths and vendors.
The number is less than half of what the Browns’ owners, Jimmy and Dee Haslam, hoped for.
What Fans Can Expect
DeWine’s comments indicate he made no changes to the teams’ attendance plans.
The plans submitted to the state last month were shared with season ticket holders.
Cleveland’s submission allowed groups or pods of up to 10 people to sit together.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 4, 2020
However, once assigned their seating location, fans can not walk around to join other pods during the game.
Plenty of signage and employees guiding fans to specific vendor sites and rest rooms are ready to go.
All fans must wear masks throughout the game, with reasonable eating and drinking exceptions.
The governor’s ban on tailgating and public congregations after the games remain in effect.
Indications are the allowable number could grow in the absence of viral outbreaks among attendees.
Cleveland’s submitted plan accounted for 20-percent capacity, or just over 13,000 fans.
It is unlikely the stadium will see a return to capacity of their 67,000-seat facilities before a vaccine is distributed.
Waiting on Comment from the Browns
The governor claimed the Browns and Bengals have been advised of the allowances.
However, no formal acknowledgement or comment has come from the teams.
Cincinnati was already told they can have no fans for their Week 1 home opener this week.
Cleveland will also play in an empty stadium next weekend.
Although the team is allowed to bring 7,500 fans into their stadium, the Baltimore Ravens opted to close the doors for the first few games.
Following the rules of social distancing and masks is vital to any hopes of increasing capacity in Berea this year.
Ohio officials can respond negatively if they notice non-compliance among the fans.
Check back with BrownsNation.com for updates before gametime.