CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There will be no fans allowed at the first home game of the season for the Carolina Panthers, the team announced Monday.
This means Bank of America Stadium will be empty on Sept. 13, when the Panthers open their 2020 NFL season against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The team says, despite bet efforts, they are “deeply disappointed” to share this news with fans.
“We will not allow an empty stadium to affect our performance on the field, but your presence gives us an undeniable edge,” A statement on the Panthers website reads.
The team says they have worked tirelessly since March to develop and implement a responsible, comprehensive plan to ensure fans’ 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 a health and safety plan, the Panthers say they are confident they can safely host a limited number of fans at some point during the season.
“This is not a choice between a full stadium or an empty stadium. We have offered compromises and alternatives,” part of the statement read.
The Panthers staff says they will continue reaching out to government officials regarding options for future games.
Safety measures the team is prepared to implement include a face covering requirement and temperature checks for all fans and staff as well as enhanced cleaning procedures.
The team has also planned for and tested new ways for fans to enter and move safely around Bank of America Stadium.
Honeywell, a Charlotte-based world leader in developing solutions for major venues and events, has customized PPE packs with Panthers fans in mind and is deploying solutions to monitor air quality throughout the facility, the team says.
In addition, the Panthers say infectious disease experts have shared scientific data to inform their 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,” the statement reads.