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On Saturday, health officials in Santa Clara County, California, announced new coronavirus restrictions that prohibit the San Francisco 49ers from playing football games in their home stadium for at least three weeks.
The Mercury News reports that the order includes “a temporary ban on all high school, collegiate and professional contact sports.” It takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday and continues until December 21, with the possibility of an extension. The 49ers (4-6) are scheduled to host two regular-season games at Levi’s Stadium during that span and another on January 3.
Santa Clara County officials say that no pro or college sports teams are able to have games or practices in the county that include direct contact for the next three weeks. That, of course, includes the #49ers, who have two home games (Dec. 7 and 13) scheduled in that window.
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) November 28, 2020
County Counsel James Williams said the mandate prohibits “all recreational activities that involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household.”
“We’ve come to a place where our cases and hospitalizations are so high we have to do something to settle them down,” said Santa Clara County health official Dr. Sara Cody. “We are now at a critical inflection point.”
The 49ers franchise issued a two-sentence response to the advisory.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) November 28, 2020
“We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s emergency directive,” a statement from the 49ers said. “We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed.”
According to The Mercury News, “the 49ers had a season-high nine players on the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list earlier this week, reflecting the county’s surge in cases that spiked to a single-day record of 760 cases Saturday.” The team plays at the Los Angeles Rams (7-3) on Sunday.
More from The Mercury News:
Earlier this year among the county’s shelter-in-place lockdown, the 49ers looked into alternative sites to hold training camp outside the county. The 49ers, however, were cleared to hold camp and work at their facility in late July once the county approved the team’s COVID-19 safety measures, including testing of players and staff that remains in place.
It’s unknown what alternative sites could be in play for the 49ers’ remaining home games. The closest facility outside Santa Clara County capable of hosting a NFL game is Oakland’s Coliseum, which the Raiders left after last season in relocating to Las Vegas.
The 49ers moved their headquarters in 1988 from Redwood City to Santa Clara. Levi’s Stadium opened in 2014 to host 49ers games after their previous stints in San Francisco at Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park.
The new mandates include occupancy limits for indoor businesses and a 14-day quarantine for people entering Santa Clara County from more than 150 miles away. The county’s average weekly cases reached 422 on Friday, an all-time high since the pandemic began. Hotels are only permitted to be open for essential travel or for individuals to self-isolate or self-quarantine.
KRON News reports that the order also affects the Stanford Cardinals and San Jose State Spartans college football teams.
“I know this is not what any of us want to hear, nor is this situation one any of us want to be in, but here we are,” Dr. Cody said.
The restrictions were issued within hours of nearby San Francisco and San Mateo counties falling back into the most restrictive “purple” tier of the state’s reopening plan.
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