Philadelphia

Philly to Loosen Coronavirus Restrictions, Allowing More Fans at Sports Games, Events

The city will follow state guidance allowing 15% capacity indoors and 20% outdoors

NBC Universal, Inc.

Philadelphia will again loosen its coronavirus restrictions to allow for more capacity at indoor and outdoor events including sports games.

The city will follow state regulations announced Monday that allow 15% occupancy for indoor events, and 20% occupancy for outdoor events.

In a news release, the Wells Fargo Center said fans will be welcomed back to games beginning Sunday, March 7. The arena expects to host about 3100 fans for Flyers and Sixers games, NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.

Fans at the Wells Fargo Center will be expected to wear masks, answer a health assessment questionnaire and follow social distancing rules and other safety measures.

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Philly's change in restrictions came a day after Gov. Tom Wolf's administration upped capacity limits in the state.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the city is working with sports teams on this, but the rule change allowing more fans is "effective immediately."

Farley said he met with managers in charge of Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park discussing their social distancing protocols, how the venues would enforce mask use.

The 76ers said the team is "looking forward to the return of 76ers fans to the building as we continue our quest toward an NBA title."

The Flyers' website indicates tickets will be first allocated to season ticket holders. Tickets will only be available in pods of two or four.

The Phillies say 8,800 fans will be welcomed at Citizens Bank Park under the restrictions - the home opener is in a month.

"The increasing number of cases in the region are absolutely a reason to be concerned," Farley said during his announcement Tuesday. "We have not vaccinated enough people yet for the entire community to be protected against this epidemic." He recommended continued masking and avoiding indoor social gatherings. Any social gatherings should be outdoors with masks to be safe, he said.

Last week, Farley explained that the city can't be less restrictive than the state. The city only could match what state limits on gatherings allow.

"They have proposed to have fans back in the stands. We have allowed that to the extent the state allows it," Farley said Feb. 26. "If there's more discussions to increase that number, they would have to get approval both from [the state] and from us."

The Sixers will conclude their first-half schedule with a game Wednesday vs. the Jazz. Their next home game is a March 14 matchup with the Spurs. 

Citizens Bank Park has a capacity of approximately 43,000 for Phillies games. The team’s home opener is scheduled for April 1 against the Braves.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Noah Levick contributed to this story.

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