Could Football Fans Return to Beaver Stadium this Spring?

Pennsylvania will allow 20-percent capacity for outdoor events, meaning fans for a Blue-White Game is possible.
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Football fans could return to Penn State's Beaver Stadium this spring, according to Pennsylvania's updated COVID-18 rules for outdoor gatherings.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that outdoor events can be held at 20 percent of capacity, no matter the size of the venue. That means Penn State potentially could host fans for a spring Blue-White football game.

According to the state's revised rules, about 21,000 people would be allowed in Beaver Stadium for a spring game. Face coverings, distancing and hygiene practices must continue to be enforced, Wolf said in a series of statements on Twitter.

If that happens, it would mark the first time Beaver Stadium has entertained the general public for a football game since the November 2019 regular-season finale against Rutgers. Games during the 2020 season were limited to families of players and staff members.

Penn State has not announced plans for a Blue-White game, which was canceled in 2020. Coach James Franklin said recently that the team plans to conduct spring practice as normal. The program currently is going through winter workouts, with spring drills scheduled to begin later in March.

Athletic director Sandy Barbour said recently that the program is evaluating the viability of holding a spring football scrimmage.

Professional sports teams in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are making plans to host fans. The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Monday that they will host about 2,800 people for their March 2 home game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The game will be the first with fans in Pittsburgh since March 8, 2020.

“Pennsylvania is taking a measured approach to revising or lifting mitigation orders,” Wolf said in a statement. "The reason we are seeing cases drop can be attributed, in part, to people following the mitigation efforts we have in place. Mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene are making a difference and need to continue even as we see more and more people fully vaccinated. We need to balance protecting public health with leading the state to a robust economic recovery. We are lifting mitigation efforts only when we believe it is safe to do so.”

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