Steelers Won't Host Fans at Heinz Field for at Least 1st 2 Games Amid Pandemic

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2020

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense works in the south end of Heinz Field during an NFL football training camp practice, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play without fans for at least the first two home games of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. 

"And we understand and appreciate the dedication of our fans who want to attend games this season," owner Art Rooney II said Thursday, per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That is why it is disappointing to announce that we will not be able to host fans for our first two home games in September."

The Steelers open their season on the road against the New York Giants but follow it up with two home games in September, facing the Denver Broncos in Week 2 and Houston Texans in Week 3.

The Steelers sent an email to season ticket holders stating they had been in communication with public health officials for months but "given the current conditions and state orders, we will not be able to welcome fans to Heinz Field at this time."

"We will continue to work on plans to host fans at games when it is deemed safe to proceed," Rooney added in a statement.

Unlike MLB, which mandated each team play games without fans for the 2020 season, the NFL has allowed each organization to create its own protocols for home games based on recommendations from state and local health officials.

Several teams have announced they will not allow fans for Week 1 while others have banned fans through September. Others will have reduced capacity for home games in accordance with local laws.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced early in August no more than 250 spectators would be allowed at professional sporting events.

After an initial spike in April and a second wave in July, Pennsylvania has kept its number of positive COVID-19 cases down over the past few weeks, according to the state's Department of Health.