Fifteen percent is better than nothing.
And, by the time the Giants and Jets are back on the field at MetLife Stadium, perhaps that 15 percent will increase to allow more fans in the building to see their teams in action for the first time since the grips of the COVID-19 global pandemic took hold.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced as of March 1, any venue in his state with a seating capacity of 5,000 or more will be allowed to have 10 percent of capacity at indoor events, and 15 percent of capacity for outdoor events.
If this decision remains unchanged, the Giants and Jets would be allowed slightly more than 12,000 fans for games at MetLife Stadium, which has a capacity of 82,500.
The Giants and Jets in a joint statement said: “As the months go on, we are hopeful that the data will continue to be positive and the number of people allowed into MetLife Stadium will steadily increase. The health and safety of our fans, players, staff and those in our communities remain our top priority and we will continue to follow the guidance of Governor Murphy and state health officials. We missed seeing our loyal fans at stadium events this past year and are excited to welcome them back in 2021.”
The Devils announced they will host fans for their March 2 game against the Islanders at Prudential Center, which has a hockey capacity of 17,625.
“This is a day toward which our entire staff has been planning, working, and looking forward to for the past 11 months,” Devils president Jake Reynolds said in a statement. “Those who enter the building will feel confident that our process and protocols are focused on making their safety the number one priority. That includes maximizing social distancing, minimizing contact, and using products and technology to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and enjoyment of our fans and attendees.”
Red Bull Arena, the soccer stadium for the Red Bulls with a capacity of 25,000, would be allowed 3,750 fans under the 15 percent limit.
If COVID-19 rates continue to drop and vaccinations are administered with greater frequency, the Giants and Jets could be playing this season in front of substantially more than 12,000 fans per game.
“If things go the way I’ve suggested in terms of the pandemic, I’d be shocked if we’re not at a higher level of capacity for Jets, Giants, Rutgers football, you name it, as we get into the summer and fall,” Murphy said on WFAN. “God knows we need it.”
Fans allowed in for games at MetLife Stadium will require face coverings and social distancing.
Basketball games at Rutgers and Seton Hall have been attended recently by parents of players, but no other fans in the buildings. By next week, the schools will be allowed 10 percent of capacity for their games.
In a statement, Seton Hall Athletics said: “We have missed having our loyal fans in attendance at our games to provide the much-needed support to our student-athletes. We are currently working with Prudential Center to review the ability to host spectators at our March 3 men’s basketball game versus the University of Connecticut, and we will communicate further details when they become available.”