Fans will be in attendance for the first time in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for an NFL game.
"Obviously it's positive. We're excited that it's getting closer to maybe having fans even here at the Linc, but having fans at Heinz Field is going to be great. It's going to be great for both teams, I think," said head coach Doug Pederson. "As we've said, players feed off of that emotion and off of the crowd. Even though it's a small number, the voices will be heard, and guys are looking forward to doing that and playing in front of a few fans. It's always good when positive things happen to be able to celebrate in front of fans. So, we're looking forward to it and hopefully, it will work out to where when we come back home, we'll have fans at our stadium as well."
"We are pleased to welcome back our fans to Heinz Field this Sunday when we host the Philadelphia Eagles," Steelers President Art Rooney said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf approved a plan to increase the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 10% to 25% percent of total capacity. This allows for fans to return to sporting events.
Under the guidance, Heinz Field will be limited to 7,500 total people in the stadium, which includes players, coaches, staff, and fans. And those fans will be Steelers fans.
"Based on these limitations we will only be able to make available to our fans approximately 5,500 seats in the lower seating bowl at Heinz Field, priority will be given to our season ticket holders who did not opt this season," Rooney said.
Eagles host the Ravens next week and are hoping to have at least some fans for that game for the first time this season.
The increase in fans in the state comes as positive coronavirus cases around the NFL rise.
"Basically, the message from the league office is we have to uphold the protocols in place that we've been asked to do. I feel comfortable with what we've done, what our players have done. We just took this long road trip and everything was good. It's something that obviously I have to do my due diligence and keep reminding our team, coaches, players, staff of the protocols that are in place and we can't let our guard down," Pederson said.
There were 11 confirmed positive tests among players and 15 new confirmed positives among other personnel last week per the NFL and the NFLPA.
"In the nine weeks since the beginning of training camp, we have had a number of isolated, new positive cases of COVID among players and other personnel across nearly two-thirds of NFL clubs and one outbreak among the Tennessee Titans," said Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer.
"We have said all along that we expect positive cases. As long as the virus is endemic in our communities, we will see new cases among our teams. Risk mitigation, not elimination, is the key. Our protocols are designed to quickly identify new cases, get individuals the care they need, and prevent further spread of the virus. It is critically important that we do not grow complacent in our rigorous application of measures proven to be impactful: always wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing and practicing healthy hand hygiene. This 2020 season, our common opponent is COVID - it's all of us together versus the virus."