PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is expanding crowd capacity limits for events in the city. It means fans will be allowed inside Lincoln Financial Field for this Sunday’s Eagles game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Fans will be welcomed back to the Linc, but only a limited number and there will be safety precautions in place.
As for other gatherings, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley made it clear there are big differences between indoor and outdoor events.
“Outdoors, we would allow more people because the risk of COVID spread outdoors is substantially less than the risk indoors,” Farley said.
In announcing the updated restrictions on Philadelphia events, Farley and Mayor Jim Kenney said they needed to be stricter than state guidelines because the coronavirus is a bigger threat here.
“We’re not trying to hurt anyone,” Kenney said. “We’re trying to keep people from getting sick and dying.”
The new city guidance says, for indoor events, there can be 10% of maximum occupancy, up to 250 people.
“Let’s say you have an indoor theater with a maximum occupancy of 300 people, that could have 30 persons in that theater,” Farley explained.
The tighter indoor restrictions are aimed at social gatherings where COVID-19 continues to spread in the city.
“People get together. They know each other. They hug, kiss, get close together, don’t wear masks,” Farley said. “The people most likely to give you COVID are the people you trust.”
For outdoor events, the city will allow 15% of maximum occupancy, up to 7,500 people. That means a limited number of Eagles fans will now be able to watch games in-person.
“All other safety rules still apply at events. Everyone must still wear masks, which means we will not allow food and drink in theaters. Everyone should stay six feet apart, 10 feet is even better indoors,” Farley said.
Farley says seats inside Lincoln Financial Field would be cordoned off to keep people separate and no tailgating will be allowed.
“It’s in the Eagles’ best interest to have this go off without a hitch,” Kenney said. “I’m confident they’ll do that.”
“I’m gonna log on right at 5 a.m. and see if tickets are available,” said season ticket holder Dave Gibson.
Gibson wants to go to Sunday’s game.
Online windows to purchase seats for season ticket holders open Wednesday morning where between two to six tickets must be bought to sit in isolated pods, which will be separated by six feet in all directions, while everyone wears a mask.
“I saw the fans out at the Steelers game over the weekend and I feel pretty safe with it and the way that looked. It’s probably safer than going to the grocery store quite honestly,” Gibson said.
“Even if the team was 2017-style, I probably wouldn’t be rolling in there,” Eagles fan Shamus Clancy said.
Clancy opted out of his season tickets this year.
No tailgating, plus COVID-19 and coverage issues have soured him ahead of Sunday.
“If there was ever a season they needed fans there to boo the team, like Nate Gerry and Jim Schwartz and all those people, they missed out on the booing. They’re lucky no fans were there this year,” Clancy said.
If there are any tickets left over, the Eagles say they’ll release what’s left to the general public.
For other big events in the city, officials say there will be limited holiday festivities at City Hall, but they didn’t provide any specifics.
CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and Dan Koob contributed to this report.
Catch Sunday’s Eagles game against the Ravens on CBS3 at 1 p.m.