INDIANAPOLIS — A sold-out Lucas Oil Stadium will be rocking 60,000 strong Sunday afternoon.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted Wednesday morning alerting fans that the home opener against the Seattle Seahawks is sold out.
Faithful fans are certainly excited to cheer on their team in person with no capacity restrictions in place for the first time since the 2019 season.
While we know fans will loudly cheer on their Colts at full strength, all the yelling and screaming could lead to an increased risk of coronavirus spread among maskless individuals.
“We want people to have fun. I mean, that’s what football, that’s what sports is all about is people having fun. But we want people to do it in a safe, responsible and respectful manner,” said Indianapolis Colts Vice President of Communications Steve Campbell. “We’re just looking forward to having the whole Colts family back together again. It’s just not the same without a full house.”
Last season, there were no more than 12,500 fans allowed inside the stadium. A sellout crowd means there is expected to be 64,000 fans that the Colts are not restricting in any way — no masks, no proof of negative test results our vaccine history required.
“We’re not at that point right now, but we have to watch, we have to watch these numbers,” Campbell said. “I mean, I’m certainly no health expert, but we certainly rely on the good people at the Marion County Health Department to guide us.
“So no, I don’t think we’re at that point yet here in Indianapolis, but you know again, I mean this is a, as we’ve all learned through this pandemic, we have to pivot.”
Marion County Public Health Department Public Information Coordinator Curt Brantingham told FOX59 in a statement:
“There is no public health order in place that requires certain COVID-19 public health precautions. But, to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others, MCPHD and CDC still strongly recommend that everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Also, wearing a mask indoors in public settings, is highly recommended due to the sharp rise in positive cases and increased hospitalizations in recent weeks from COVID-19 in Marion County. This mask recommendation includes those who are fully vaccinated. And, if you are feeling sick, please stay home.”
The Colts acknowledged Lucas Oil Stadium would be a safer environment for the tens of thousands of fans in attendance if the stadiums roof and window were opened during the game, but that decision is made closer to kickoff.
“With protocols and things like that, if the weather holds, it’s our goal to have the roof open and the window open,” Campbell said. “We make that determination every weekend based on weather, primarily. Obviously if it’s raining we don’t have the roof open, and also if it get’s a little too hot. Right now, for this game this Sunday, masks are recommended and encouraged but not required.”
Campbell says the Colts say their situation on game days, similarly to last season, will be handled on a weekly basis, meaning masks, capacity restrictions, even proof of vaccinations could be required in the future, though they are not required Sunday, September 12.
“Fingers crossed, like everything in this pandemic, fingers crossed,” Campbell said. “We’re confident that we’ve taken appropriate steps to keep people safe and healthy and we just need the fans to play a part as well.”