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Epidemiologist says 49ers’ home games would be ‘low risk’ with social distancing

The 49ers have already said their home opener will be played without fans, but that could change by the Week 4 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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The San Francisco 49ers will not have any fans in attendance for their Week 1 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, but that could change during the season. UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford says Niners’ home games would be low risk if social distancing rules are followed.

“I don’t think it hurts anything to keep October open. They can’t fill up the stadium, of course, but the limited, 20% capacity or so plan should still be on the table ... If someone is infectious and there’s no mask-wearing, you’re hosed, but if both are masked, it’s a different story. Two hairdressers in Springfield, Missouri, took care of a bunch of customers when both were infected, but there were no reported infections after because they both wore masks.”

Dr. Rutherford also told the SF Gate’s Eric Ting that the team would have to make sure guidelines are followed in common areas, such as restrooms and concession lines. He also added that it would be safe for Levi’s Stadium to be at roughly 20% capacity, which would be approximately 13,700 fans.

The Las Vegas Raiders have already announced fans will not be allowed to attend any of their home games this year, while some teams have only said that fans won’t be allowed in for an indefinite period of time.

Without fans in attendance, the 49ers will could lose over $1 million a game. While this isn’t the ideal scenario, having 20% attendance will help the organization’s bottom line. California has had more than 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and nearly 13,000 deaths since the pandemic began, and Gov. Gavin Newsom remains steadfast that businesses can only operate under strict guidelines.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys say they will allow fans to attend their home openers. The Niners play back-to-back road games in New York before returning home for the Week 4 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jed York and co. can change their minds between now and then. I’m sure they will work with local and state officials to see if it would be possible to at least have some fans at the home games.

Would you try and get tickets to a 49ers home game if Levi’s operates at 20% capacity?