CLEVELAND — As the nation continues to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has been some signs of life coming from its professional sports leagues recently
Major League Baseball is set to open its shortened regular season on Thursday. NBA and NHL teams are in their bubbles preparing for their postseasons to start next month. Those leagues will all play games in empty venues.
As the National Football League welcomes rookies into camps this week, it remains a mystery as to whether or not fans will be able to come down to the stadiums to watch the action in person this fall. Cleveland Browns Senior Vice President of Communications Peter John-Baptiste talked about that uncertainty during a Press Club of Cleveland forum on Tuesday.
"We want our fans in the building for many reasons," he said. "I think we're appraoching it like we're going to be smart, we're going to be safe. We're doing studies on social distancing and how many fans can fit in the building and be safe."
Earlier this month, the Browns sent out a survey to its season ticket holders asking questions ranging from their flexibility about moving seats, to what safety precautions fans use when going out to public places, to how willing fans are to potentially wearing a mask at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The team then followed with a letter to season ticket holders admitting that the likelihood of fans being permitted to attend games with the stadium at full capacity is "very low."
The Browns did, however, communicate new policies that could impact their attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium this fall. Those policies include a mandate for any fan in attendance to wear a mask or face covering, as well as the ability for any season ticket holder to opt out of the 2020 season, while maintaining their seat priority and location for 2021.
"We have our eyes wide open," John-Baptiste added. "We're hoping we can have fans at games this year, but we still don't know what that will look like. We feel like we still have at least a month or so to figure it out, but we really don't know where we'll end up."
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