Tailoring, face-painted spectators returned to stadiums across the country in full force as the NFL opened the door to capacity for the first time since the corona virus epidemic.
Some wore masks, some did not. Some are vaccinated, some are not.
With the Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Riders and New Orleans Saints, the restrictions were different in different cities, only the teams that fans need to provide proof of vaccination to enter.
Defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buckners welcomed 65,566 spectators to start the season on Thursday night and 15 teams are set to host more than 1 million spectators in Week 1.
Fans returned after the addition of Covid 19 due to Delta. President Joe Biden has a proposal that companies with more than 100 employees vaccinate their workforce and that he will make shots mandatory for executive branch workers and federal contractors without any testing opt-outs.
In Nashville, fans were sniffing outside Nissan Stadium before the Titans hosted the Arizona Cardinals. Fans did not need any evidence of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test. Masks were encouraged only inside suites and other enclosed spaces, but not necessarily. The only exception is the post game for reporters around players and coaches.
Fields between 15 and 5 had the words “Welcome Back”.
Judy Mag of Hovenwald, Tennessee, had tickets for the 2020 season when she contracted an epidemic. She has been at the Titans Games for the past five seasons and was running for her seat on the upper deck on Sunday.
“It sounds great and I hope we win,” Mag said.
In buffaloes, fans who are not fully vaccinated should cover their faces at all times. Visits to indoor settings at Highmark Stadium require a mask regardless of vaccination status. Non-vaccinated guests can take off their mask while eating or drinking. The seat will not be designated as a vaccination.
The team sent a letter to ticket holders asking them to go through the gates before normal, and that they were opening the gate at 11 a.m., half an hour earlier.
Outside the stadium, this had returned to normal after spectators were not allowed to participate in the Bulls Home Games during the regular season last year, and only 6,600 people were allowed to play. Private lots were filling up around the stadium until 8am.
Jeff Boist made his annual trip from North Carolina to play bills for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I think now is the time to come back to the people and use your opportunities. I have been vaccinated. “But I’m ready to take the chances of starting life here and trying to get back to normal. And that’s a tradition I remember. I traveled 600 miles to get here and get back to normal. “And supported the bills, helped the community I grew up in. Our hearts are still here.”
Bill Langdow traveled from Long Island, New York, to North Carolina to help Zack Wilson start the NFL with the Jets against Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for that,” Langdo said. “We were in Islanders’ Game 6 against Tampa Bay and it was full. We have been vaccinated. We feel very comfortable. “
Masks were not required but were recommended in the stands of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and were needed in any indoor area.
Dustin Fair Cloth came with his wife and two children without a mask, unaware of protocol.
“I was hoping they didn’t need it or I was in trouble,” said Fair Cloth.
The two-time AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs expected more than 75,000 spectators for the afternoon game against the Cleveland Browns. Masks were only required inside the club suite.
“Our goal is the same as we did last year: how can we create a safe environment for our fans?” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. “We are not experts in COVID space, we are not experts in vaccination space and testing space, so we have to work with experts on that. I would say this, as an organization we fully support full vaccination. We believe this is the safest way for all of us and we have promoted it.
The New England Patriots have asked non-vaccinated fans to wear masks at the Gillette Stadium. Like other teams, they ask all tick-holders to agree that if they have had a positive test for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, they have come across someone who has had COVID-19 in the past. For a positive experience, they or their guests will not attend any event within 14 hours of the event for 14 days, or experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
“Last year, it felt like a Massachusetts high school soccer game, where there were very few bands,” said Patriot Line Bakers coach Steve Belchick. We accept every opportunity to compete on the field. “Last year, not being out with the fans was a source of humility. I’m sure they wanted to be there. We wanted them there. But it did not remove our intensity in our preparation and our effort and in all such things.
AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker and AP Sports Writers John Wauro, Steve Reid, Charles O’Donoghue, David Scrita and Kyle Hightor collaborated.
Rob Maadi, Associated Press.