The National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets, co-tenants at MetLife Stadium, will each play its home games this season without any attending fans following a new executive order by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Murphy earlier this month signed an executive order limiting outdoor gatherings to 500 people due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. On July 20, Murphy informed both teams the the order will apply to events at the stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, until further notice.
“We support Governor Murphy’s decision in the interest of public health and safety and, until circumstances change, both the Jets and Giants will our games without the benefit of fans in attendance,” the teams said in a joint statement. “Although we would prefer to have fans at MetLife Stadium for our games, we will continue to work with Governor Murphy’s office and will provide updates if necessary.”
The teams’ training camps and practices, also set to be held at separate sites in New Jersey, will also be closed to the public.
New Jersey initially was one of the key hotspots of the American outbreak of Covid-19 cases. In recent weeks, the state’s case numbers have fallen significantly, but Murphy has still sought to keep public gathering limits in check in an effort to avoid a resurgence like ones seen this month in other states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
“While we look forward to the day we can return to games as normal and cheer from the stands, continue concerns for the health and safety of fans, team members, and staff dictates that our executive order limiting outdoor gatherings does apply to sporting events, including training camp,” Murphy said.
The Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, have been told by city leaders to not expect fans at their games this season.
The 2020 NFL season itself, however, remains under increasing questions as the league and NFL Players Association have yet to finalize health protocols to govern the season amid the pandemic. The union has begun a coordinated Twitter campaign to raise attention to their stated desire for greater clarity around testing and safety provisions.
Like most other NFL teams, the Giants and Jets are allowing season ticket holders the option to forego the 2020 season voluntarily with no penalty to their seating location or seniority with the team.