Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expects fans to attend home games for the upcoming football season.
Jones said he could not say how many fans will be allowed at AT&T Stadium because of coronavirus restrictions, but noted that the 3 million square foot arena with an estimated 80,000 seats has plenty of space for fans to social distance.
“The Dallas Cowboys plan on playing all our football games, and we plan on playing them in front of our fans,” he said at a press conference Wednesday, marking the opening of training camp.
“When you look at a number in the stadium, don’t think that numbers [are] getting together out there. They’re not. It’ll be in pods of possibly 5, 10, 15 different people,” Jones explained. “Our stadium is well-suited to put together numbers of people that have elected to come and want to watch the Dallas Cowboys play.”
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, said that professional and college stadiums can operate, but only at 50 percent capacity, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Jones said they will “adhere to all protocols,” but he is confident that spectators “can come and have a safe experience” at the stadium.
“I think it’s important,” he said. “I think it’s important individually. I think it’s important for the country. I know the debate going on. I can easily see how X percent of the people will be for, it’s just not worth the kinds of effort, risks, whatever that’s going to go on. I believe it is. The NFL can be an inspirational part of how we address COVID.”
Whether fans will be allowed to attend NFL games remains unclear for most teams. In a press release last month, the Atlanta Falcons said that capacity at home games would be 10,000 to 20,000. The New England Patriots said it’s up to state and local officials to decide if fans will be allowed inside Gillette Stadium. If it is approved, the arena will only host about 20 percent of its total capacity, which left some fans upset.
The Green Bay Packers, however, have already announced that it will not allow fans at the first two home games of the season.
“The Packers’ third home game is on Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Whether fans can attend this game and others later in the season will depend on the status of the virus,” the team said in a statement earlier this month. “The Packers will continue to evaluate a variety of factors in consultation with local medical and public health officials.”