Nashville set to announce plans to allow limited number of fans at Titans games

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Nashville officials are set to announce Thursday that a limited number fans will be allowed to attend Tennessee Titans’ games at Nissan Stadium, multiple people familiar with the plan told the USA TODAY Network. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the plans before they had been made public.

Eased restrictions will not take place in time for the Titans’ home opener on Sunday against rival Jacksonville Jaguars. But there is a team sweepstakes for a fan to win two passes to the game.

City officials previously said there would be no fans allowed at home games through the end of September. The next home game would be Oct. 4, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Mayor John Cooper and the city’s COVID-19 taskforce are set to outline guidelines for fans at the 70,000 seat stadium at an in-person press conference Thursday morning, outside the city’s new Titans mural downtown. Titans President Burke Nihill is expected to be in attendance for a join-statement. 

It’s not clear what crowd capacity restrictions the city will set but plans to allow crowds will likely impact the Nashville Soccer Club, which also plays at Nissan Stadium. 

The city last month said the stadium will remain empty due to the ongoing pandemic at least through September, with the Major League Soccer season underway and the National Football League games starting this past week, as officials warned against the potential for it to become a superspreading event. 

Restrictions, Cooper had said, may be eased based on improvements in the city’s COVID-19 numbers and the experiences of other NFL and MLS games in other cities. 

The change comes as Nashville’s coronavirus outbreak continues to wane. Infections and hospitalizations steadily fell in recent weeks, and this month the city’s weekly positivity rate has dropped below 6% for the first time since May.  Active infections, which peaked in July at nearly 6,000, have fallen to about 1,100.

Cooper extended curfew for Nashville bars and restaurants on Monday until 10:30 p.m., for fans to watch the Titans’ season opener against the Denver Broncos. 

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