The Falcons will play without fans in attendance for at least their first two home games of 2020.
The team announced Monday that Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the Falcons and Atlanta United of Major League Soccer, will not host public spectators for the month of September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The health and safety of our fans is our top priority," AMB Sports and Entertainment CEO Steve Cannon said in a statement. "As much as we want to bring our Falcons and Atlanta United fans together at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, their safety and well-being, and that of our associates, the competitors, officials and game staff, and our community as a whole will always come first. After thoughtful consideration and collaboration, it became clear to us that adhering to the guidance by national and local health officials was the right decision."
The decision keeps fans out of the stands for the Falcons' Sept. 13 home opener versus the Seattle Seahawks and Sept. 27 meeting with the Chicago Bears. Policy for subsequent home games will be determined at a later date, as team and stadium officials continue to collaborate with national and local health officials. The Falcons are scheduled to play two home games in October -- against the Carolina Panthers (Oct. 11) and Detroit Lions (Oct. 25).
Atlanta was just 3-5 at home last year and has a 12-12 mark at Mercerdes-Benz Stadium since it opened in 2017.