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Miami Dolphins to permit 13,000 fans to 2020 home opener

The Miami Dolphins has announced a limited capacity of 13,000 fans will be able to attend its 2020 home opener at Hard Rock Stadium.

Socially distanced fans will be allowed into the 65,000-capacity stadium for the NFL American football team’s first home game against the Buffalo Bills on September 20.

Miami Dolphins vice-chairman and chief executive Tom Garfinkel, said: “When we started the process back in March of exploring what a socially-distanced stadium could look like, we made the health and safety of everyone the first priority; knowing that if we felt that we couldn’t make it safe, we simply wouldn’t have fans.

“We’re happy that our elected officials recognise the attention to detail and diligence that we’ve put into creating a safe environment and that they made the decision to move forward with a 13,000-capacity stadium at this time.”

The organisation announced a series of initiatives in July designed to create a COVID-safe environment in 2020 including, wearing a mask, mobile touchless entry and staggered gate entry with entry times listed on game tickets, among others.

Despite the safety measures, the move has been deemed as “risky” as COVID-19 cases in Florida are still on the rise in many regions. Several NFL teams are not permitting fans at all this season, and some are waiting before deciding how long they will play without fans.

Donna Shalala, a U.S. Representative in Florida, said, according to Sky Sports: “We still have community spread in South Florida. So the kinds of precautions that need to be taken are extraordinary, and I think it’s going to be very difficult to do. There is no question that it’s risky.”

The Dolphins are scheduled to open the season September 13 against the New England Patriots, which has announced it will not have fans at games for at least the month of September.

Dolphins season ticket members will have first priority to purchase tickets based on their tenure and will have the option to roll their 2020 payments into the 2021 season and retain all of their tenure, seats and associated benefits.

Image: A.J. Lipp / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edited for size