(Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Steelers fans have been eager to see their favorite team in action at Heinz Field, but so far through two home games, fans have not been permitted due to COVID-19 precautions. Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday regarding the capacity limits at sporting events in Pennsylvania, a source confirmed to WPXI.
Wolf's press conference will reportedly be at 10 a.m. The source said capacity limits would be based on the size of the stadium and/or arena.
Steelers team president Art Rooney II this past Thursday said in an interview with KDKA Radio that they have a good plan to safely host fans at Heinz Field.
“We think we have a good plan and we’re anxious to get fans back in the building obviously," Rooney said. "I think our plan calls for around 12,000 fans socially distanced so that would be our starting point.”
Rooney also expressed frustration with other establishments nearby being allowed to have a large group of people but no clearance for fans allowed at Heinz Field yet by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
“Of course the casino down the street from us is open for a few thousand people a day, so it’s getting harder to explain to our fans why that’s happening and we’re still at zero,” Rooney said.
Rooney also wished that the Pennslyvania Department of Health would move quicker in their decision on whether to allow fans at Heinz Field.
“I think frustrated is probably the right word," Rooney said. As we said I think we’ve been patient, I think we’ve been cooperating and we plan to continue to cooperate and work with the guidelines that we are given, but as I said before it is starting to get to be hard to explain to our fans in comparison to other things that you’re allowed to do now."
This past Friday, the Steelers sent an email to season ticket holders, who still opted in for the season that they have been working over the last few months to create "a safe environment for players, staff and fans within Heinz Field."
The email then stated that the timing for a decision on the admittance of fans to Heinz Field is still undetermined.
"We have had productive communications this week with public health authorities to discuss the possibility of hosting a limited number of fans at Heinz Field soon.
"As of today, it has not been determined whether we can host fans for our October home games on Sunday, October 11th and Sunday, October 18th, but we want to alert you that we will contact you by email as soon as we know if fans will be permitted. Once a decision is made on whether fans are permitted, we will provide details of the seat selection process that will be available to you."
The email also stated that seating compacity will be greatly reduced to meet social distancing requirements. The season ticket holders were also notified to monitor the email on file with the Steelers ticket office as the team may only be able to provide minimal advance notice for them to select their seats if fans are allowed at games.
The Steelers host the Eagles on Sunday at Heinz Field with a 1 p.m. kickoff.