SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — After a season of no fans in the stands — and at one point, no team in Santa Clara — the San Francisco 49ers are hopeful they will more company than just the foghorn by the time the 2021 NFL season starts.
The organization is trying to figure out those logistics right now. Team executives have assembled a team of epidemiologists to guide them through the process of bringing the Faithful back.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Case: Bay Area Lawmakers React To Guilty Verdicts In George Floyd Killing
“We owe it to our fans and our employees that when they walk into this building and I hope that’s August and September to large numbers that they feel safe,” 49ers President Al Guido told KPIX 5 via Zoom.
Options could include de-centralizing food service and even using TSA-expediting company Clear to help screen folks at the gate.
“We think about CLEAR as what you might do in an airport, but they are working on technology to distinguish whether or not you have had a vaccine and if you haven’t maybe you get testing,” Guido said.
UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford said those options could work.
“You need to give yourself the best shot that people coming through the door are not infectious, which means either screening them or insisting that they be vaccinated or both,” said Dr. Rutherford.READ MORE: 2nd Suspect Jailed In San Mateo Murder Of Rap Artist Cutty Banks; Believed To Be Mistaken ID Retaliation
Even Santa Clara County administration seems agreeable to the idea of re-opening the venue, a strikingly different tone than when the 49ers had to move to Arizona this winter.
“We look forward to seeing the protocols that they put together and we’ll see how the pandemic continues to to evolve. Right now we’re focused on vaccination. The Levi’s Stadium site is a key piece of that effort and our partnership with the 49ers in that work is really pivotal in providing vaccines to the community,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams at a news conference Tuesday.
So far, 22,000 people have been vaccinated at the Levi’s mass vaccine site and that could turn the tide when it comes to late summer pre-season games.
“It depends on the amount of people vaccinated in our market by the time we’re gonna do kickoff,” Guido said.
Nearby businesses like Pizza My Heart, hit hard by the lack of events at Levi’s and the Great America amusement park being closed, can’t wait.MORE NEWS: Derek Chauvin Found Guilty On All Charges In Killing Of George Floyd
“It’s gonna be massive to have Levi’s re-opened. To have the Niners back, to have concerts back open and have Great America going again. It’s such a huge part of the business here and just the overall morale for our staff and crew,” said Pizza My Heart manager Spencer Glenn.