Tuesday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley confirmed that the city received a proposal from the Sixers and Flyers to have fans return to the Wells Fargo Center in March. That was reported by Keith Pompey, who said the teams were asking for a 5,000 spectator threshold.
Farley was asked about the topic at the city’s most recent COVID-19 briefing, and also mentioned that the Phillies were involved, saying this:
— David Malandra Jr (@DaveMReports) February 23, 2021
“We did receive request from the Sixers, Flyers, and the Phillies. We are looking at our event limits. Right now large amounts of fans would not be allowed under event limits, but we are likely to ease that back somewhat, effective on March 1st. I should point out though that there are event limits that the state has, and we cannot be less restrictive than what the state allows. All of those proposals would allow more people than what is currently allowed by the state. So I can’t guarantee whether those requests will be granted, because it’s not on my authority. It’s up to the governor.”
Right, and as we’ve seen over the past year, Philadelphia is typically a few weeks behind the state when it comes to easing restrictions. I would be stunned if the city is ready to move forward on a timeline that is congruous with Pennsylvania. Typically the restrictions have been tighter within the city limits.
But this is good news. If Farley is saying “we are likely to ease that back somewhat,” then the city is amenable to having fans in stadiums, at least in some capacity. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are getting closer.