Kansas City mayor defends having Chiefs fans present for opening game

He said there won’t be the same crowds in the stadium like there would be for a normal gameday

The Kansas City Chiefs will have 16,000 fans at most at Arrowhead Stadium for their home-opener against the Houston Texans on Thursday night and the city’s mayor is defending that decision.

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas lauded the approach health officials and the organization took to get to this point in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

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“This wasn’t just the Kansas City Health Department, we worked with doctors at a local hospital, we worked with the NFL, the Chiefs physicians, so many others who were part of the process,” Lucas said. “Everything about the experience will be different than if you went to a game recently at Madison Square Garden or anywhere else.”

Lucas contended there won’t be the same crowds in the stadium like there would be for a normal gameday.

“Part of the reason we get to a weird number like 22%, which some have pushed back at us on, is because that actually is the measurement of what you need to have rows between people, to have social distancing between pod groups,” he told Yahoo Finance. “There really won’t be crowds in the same way at the stadium.”

He added that he wasn’t “dramatically concerned” about the possibility of more coronavirus cases stemming from the game at Arrowhead Stadium.

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The gameday experience for fans will be quite different than usual as well. Seating and high-traffic areas of the stadium have been modified to support social distancing standards, and all concessions, retail points of sale and parking tollbooths will be cashless. For the fans attending games, all bags will be prohibited inside the stadium, and everyone must wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking.

The NFL is also providing every team a stadium-specific recording of crowd noise that must be played at a required level of 70 dB throughout every game, except during injury timeouts and quarter, halftime and commercial breaks.

A league official will be monitoring these levels on the sidelines every game. Teams that don't follow the rules will be subject to fines, suspensions or even lost draft picks.

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The Chiefs ask that fans “be patient and understand that these are unprecedented times.”

“We are all in this together so let's work with one another to keep Chiefs Kingdom safe by adhering to the guidelines outlined,” the Chiefs said.

Fox News’ Dan Canova contributed to this report.