Panthers are latest NFL team to confirm no fans for week 1, 49ers use cardboard cut-out spectators

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The Carolina Panthers are the latest NFL team to announce there will be no fans in the stadium for their season opener as the fight to protect against Covid-19 continues.

The unprecedented scenes at Bank of America Stadium on week one of the new NFL season will join many others around the league who have also confirmed a no-fan event, including the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and more.

The Panthers released a message to their fans highlighting the efforts the team has made yet safety remains the main concern.

Despite our best efforts, we are deeply disappointed to share that you will not be with us at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 13 when we open the season against Las Vegas.

We will not allow an empty stadium to affect our performance on the field, but your presence gives us an undeniable edge.

We have worked tirelessly since March to develop and implement a responsible, comprehensive plan to ensure that your game day experience is enjoyable and as safe as possible. Based on the guidelines outlined in Phase 2 of North Carolina’s reopening plan, and our health and safety plan, we are confident that we can safely host a limited number of fans.

This is not a choice between a full stadium or an empty stadium. We have offered compromises and alternatives. We will continue reaching out to government officials regarding options for future games.

Safety measures we are prepared to implement include a face covering requirement and temperature checks for all fans and staff as well as enhanced cleaning procedures. We have also planned for and tested new ways for fans to enter and move safely around Bank of America Stadium.

Honeywell, a world leader in developing solutions for major venues and events, has customized PPE packs with our fans in mind and is deploying solutions to monitor air quality throughout the facility. In addition, infectious disease experts have shared scientific data to inform our decisions and fill critical gaps in mitigating the spread of the virus.

 We recognize the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and will follow guidelines outlined by government and public health officials. And, we will continue to seek alternatives regarding the return of fans for the 2020 season and will share updates as appropriate.

We encourage you to stay safe, and we hope to see you soon.

With the NFL season starting on September 10, some teams that will have no fans in the stadium are offering fans the chance to still be ‘in attendance’ through a cardboard cut-out. For a fee (which is going to charitable causes) the teams are asking fans to submit a picture of themselves and send it to the team where they have the chance to be placed in the stadium visible on television broadcasts. It’s no substitute for the real thing but at least stands will not look as barren.

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at magazines and websites around the world for the past 10 years covering everything from technology to motoring and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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