Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Levi's Stadium
The San Francisco 49ers are barred from hosting further home games due to local COVID restrictions.
Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, will temporarily sit empty after local health officials put in place new measures to cut back on rising positive coronavirus cases in the area. Per the guidelines, professional, college and youth sports that "involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports, will be temporarily prohibited."
"We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's emergency directive. We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed," the team said in a statement on Saturday.
According to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said in a press conference after their 23-20 win Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams' home turf that the team was not made aware of the decision ahead of time. "It was a very disappointing thing what we got yesterday," he said.
The coach added, according to NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport, that "We’ve been working with them as a partner trying to figure it out. ... For everyone to find out without them telling us, it was extremely disappointing."
A not-very-happy #49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on the Santa Clara restrictions booting them from home: “We’ve been working with them as a partner trying to figure it out. ... For everyone to find out without them telling us, it was extremely disappointing."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 30, 2020
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NFL.com reported that the team is considering playing the rest of the season's home games at the Arizona Cardinals' State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. A spokesperson for the 49ers didn't immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement on Saturday that the department is "gravely concerned by the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations."
"The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity very soon if current trends continue," said Cody. "During this critical time of surging COVID-19 transmission in our community, I urge every resident to exercise caution and to the greatest extent possible, minimize contact with anyone outside of your immediate household."
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty
The 49ers, who have not allowed fans at games so far this season, have three upcoming home games scheduled that are now in question: Monday, Dec. 7, against the Buffalo Bills; Sunday, Dec. 13, against the Washington Football Team; and Sunday, Jan. 3, against the Seattle Seahawks.
The new mandatory directives from Santa Clara County Public Health remain in effect until at least Monday, Dec. 21, unless they are extended.
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