There will be no fans in the stands to watch the Washington Football Team this season.
The club, noting "the health and safety of its fans and employees" as the primary reason, announced Wednesday that NFL games at FedEx Field would be played without fans during the 2020 season. The team cited an "abundance of caution due to the rapidly changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic."
"We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season," Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. "We were the first team in the league to recall our scouts and other personnel from the field back in mid-March and have been monitoring this evolving situation ever since. This decision was not an easy one, but after several discussions with federal, state and local officials -- along with input from some of the nation's foremost medical experts, based right here in the nation's capital -- we are confident that it is the right one. We are working to find ways to make our fans' presence felt in new and innovative ways for 2020 and can't wait to welcome the community through the gates as soon as it's safe."
The team noted the decision will be re-evaluated if the situation surrounding the pandemic improves over the course of the season.
Washington joins a growing list of teams that have announced plans to proceed sans fans in the stands in 2020. Other clubs have announced significantly reduced attendance if fans are allowed to attend at all once the season kicks off.
As with all things when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only constant is the swift changes coming week to week and month to month. With much still unknown about the virus, teams like Washington will play it safe and keep fans at home during games.