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DeWine Allows 6,000 Spectators At Early Season Browns Games

Up to 6,000 people will be allowed to attend each of the Browns two home games in September. The same limit was set for two Cincinnati Bengals home games. 

Gov. Mike DeWine on Saturday  announced the exemption for Ohio’s two NFL teams from a statewide health order for sporting events. Under that Aug. 19 order, attendance at outdoor stadiums was limited to 1,500 people or 15% of capacity, whichever is less. First Energy Stadium can hold about 68,000 people.

Fans will be seated in groups of up to ten people that are known to each other, with 1,500 people allowed on each of a stadium’s four sides. Masks will be mandatory. Entry will be restricted to particular gates. Vendors at the stadium will have to follow restaurant and retail guidelines.

The City of Cleveland has banned tailgating at city-owned lots before games.

"This year will certainly be different, but both the Browns and the Bengals have worked exceedingly hard and have made extensive preparations to welcome a limited number of fans to their stadiums safely," said DeWine. "These very thorough plans and safety precautions warrant a two-game trial to try and accommodate fans, at reduced capacities with social distancing and masks."

The Browns sent out a letter to season ticket holders on Aug. 26 laying out rules for attending games, but did not propose a maximum number of attendees at the time.

DeWine selected the Sept. 17 home opener against the Bengals and the Sept. 27 game against the Washington Football Team as the two test runs for the rules at First Energy Stadium.

There are a wide range of attendance policies among N.F.L. teams, with some banning spectators entirely and others limiting capacity.

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