Patriots to allow season-ticket holders at higher risk for coronavirus to skip season, return in 2021
The NFL is still planning to start its fall season on time as part of the COVID 19 pandemic and - at least for now - to allow fans to participate in games.
However, the New England Patriots know that some of their subscribers may not feel safe or comfortable because of the corona virus when they personally watch this season at Gillette Stadium.
So the organization won't punish them.
[Corona Virus: How the Sports World Responds to the Pandemic]
If ticket holders are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus due to their age or underlying health conditions, they can skip the season completely and keep their season tickets for the 2021 season.
"If you sign this agreement now, your seat will be protected for the 2021 season," the team said in an email to season ticket holders, according to the Associated Press.
The patriots are reported to have a waiting list of tens of thousands of names of fans trying to secure season tickets, "many of whom have waited a decade or more." This step ensures that fans who want to skip the season do not lose their tickets and are replaced by someone on this list, as is common in the sports world.
The NFL released its full schedule in May and is still planning to continue the season normally, although it has practically held most of the off-season so far.
However, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging in the United States and could change the season significantly. According to the New York Times, there were more than 2.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. on Friday afternoon, and more than 119,000 deaths were attributed to it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week that he thought it would be difficult to see the NFL season this fall again. His comments came a few days after several players from the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans tested positive.
"If players aren't essentially in a bubble - isolated from the community and tested almost daily - it is very difficult to see how soccer can be played this fall," Fauci told CNN. "If there is a second wave that is certainly an option and that would be hampered by the predictable flu season, soccer may not take place this year."
President Donald Trump, of course, pushed back Fauci's comments and said he had "nothing to do with NFL football."
Regardless, the patriots are still planning to welcome fans to play in their stadium this fall - as long as fans are ready to come.
"We remain optimistic about the return of football and are preparing to play every home game as planned in front of our season ticket members in the fall," the patriots told subscribers via the Associated Press. "We will do this in full compliance with the NFL and all government regulations and rely on the advice of medical and healthcare professionals to ensure the safety of our fans, players and employees."
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