The Washington Football Team and Baltimore Ravens will no longer host fans at their Maryland-based stadiums going forward due to coronavirus concerns.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday fans are no longer allowed at college or professional sports stadiums or racetracks as the state rolls back on several of its coronavirus restrictions.
The state reported at least 1,000 new cases for 13 days straight. Maryland’s positivity rate — the number of tests that return with a positive result — at 6.85%, Hogan said, putting it above its 5% benchmark.
“It’s not fake news. It’s not going to magically disappear just because we’re all tired of it,” Hogan said. “We are in a war right now — and the virus is winning. Now, more than ever, I’m pleading with the people of our state to stand together, a while longer, to help us battle this surging virus.”
Both teams had said they would not host fans this week before Hogan’s announcement due to the worsening COVID-19 numbers.
In a statement Monday, Washington said no fans would be allowed during the Nov 22 game against the Cincinnati Bengals after multiple discussions with the Prince George’s County’s Department of Health.
“We take the responsibility of protecting our staff, players, fans, and the community seriously and feel this is the right decision at this time,” the statement said.
Washington played their first four games of the 2020 season in an empty FedEx Field until allowing over 3,000 fans for the Nov 8 contest against the New York Giants. Prince George’s, where their stadium is situated, is the hardest impacted county in the state with over 36,000 positive cases and 870 dead as of Wednesday.
Washington also announced that a unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19. The player is self-isolating and reportedly did not travel with the team to their game in Detroit on Sunday.
The Ravens, who play in M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore, also made their decision on Monday, keeping fans out during their game against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday.
“In giving the matter careful consideration, and with the rise of Maryland’s COVID-19 infection rate and increased hospitalizations, the Ravens believe this decision is the correct one in helping protect the well-being and safety of our community,” the team said in a statement.
The City of Baltimore has also been hit hard by COVID-19 with over 21,000 cases and 512 deaths. M&T Bank Stadium first hosted fans, about 4,300 people, on Nov 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
No timeline on their return before the end of the season was given.
The Sports Pulse’s Jose Umana contributed to this report.
Photo Courtesy: Washington Football Team