CLEVELAND — The Browns still plan to host up to 12,000 fans at their remaining home games, even with Cuyahoga County currently under a stay-at-home advisory for at least the next four weeks.
The team confirmed this to 3News Thursday evening, saying they "will monitor and remain flexible but [are] planning to continue to safely host a limited number of fans while strictly enforcing protocols on Sunday." Cleveland is scheduled to host the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend at FirstEnergy Stadium.
No NFL teams have been allowed to fill their stadiums to capacity this season, with some playing in front of completely empty stadiums. The Browns first welcomed 6,000 fans at each of their first two home games before that figure was expanded to 12,000 with the permission of Gov. Mike DeWine's administration.
"I can’t wait to see that stadium filled at some point, but for now, we will just follow the protocols," head coach Kevin Stefanski said of the small-yet-boisterous crowd. "I really do appreciate how loud they have been. I feel their enthusiasm."
Those guidelines were originally set when Ohio's coronavirus numbers were still relatively low. They have since skyrocketed, forcing Cuyahoga County and other parts of the state to enact measures encouraging residents to stay home. While local leaders have advised against holding certain public gatherings, they are not forcing them to cancel, and will continue working with entities and organizations to promote proper safety protocols.
Some counties are taking a stricter approach, though, with Franklin County currently at a Level 4 risk for the disease. With the county enacting its own stay-at-home order, Ohio State has now banned family members from all sporting events and the OHSAA has moved its state football championships from Columbus to Massillon.
The Browns themselves have been impacted by the pandemic, with offensive lineman Chris Hubbard and fullback Andy Janovich both out indefinitely after presumably testing positive for the virus. Three other players are currently on Cleveland's reserve/COVID-19 list for possible exposure.