CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Despite a stay-at-home advisory in effect, the Cleveland Browns seem to bring roughly 12,000 fans into FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday for their game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The advisory, not to be confused with an order, allows them to do so.
Several viewers have reached out to 19 News, asking for clarification on the team’s plan.
The Browns have not responded to our inquiries regarding their official plan, but when we called the ticket office, a sales representative said limited tickets (due to availability) were still on sale.
When asked if fans would indeed be allowed inside the stadium, and the staffer said the ticket office had not been told otherwise.
During an unrelated briefing on Friday, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan addressed the recent surge of COVID-19 within the county.
While the City of Cleveland has its own health department, 19 News did ask the two county officials about the Browns’ plans.
“Is it hypocritical? Does it undermine these stay-at-home advisories?” we asked.
“I know that the advisory doesn’t explicitly address this issue, and I don’t want to get ahead of the City of Cleveland because, as you know, FirstEnergy [Stadium] is in the City of Cleveland, so I would defer to them to address this issue in their jurisdiction,” said Allan.
Of course, it stands to reason that there will be people from within the Board’s jurisdiction who attend the game.
We pressed the commissioner on his concerns.
“I certainly know overall there have been a lot of considerations about spacing,” he said. “They are outside... there couldn’t be more air circulation than there is outside, certainly at a stadium. I know they take a lot of precautions.”
In October, Gov. Mike DeWine approved the Browns’ request to allow 12,000 fans into the stadium for games.
In fairness, the Browns have reiterated over and over that fan safety is a major part of the game day process. The 12,000 fans allowed inside make up just 18 percent of the standard capacity.
Those fans are spread out throughout the venue, and are required to wear masks.
Additional health and safety protocols are in place, and there are no known COVID-19 spikes associated with fans in the stands.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s office has acknowledged our request for comment but has not responded.
The Browns host the Eagles at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.