Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is urging Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to reconsider his opposition to allowing in-person attendance at outdoor school sporting events during the 2020-2021 season, and encouraging him to permit spectators at collegiate and professional football games.
Senator Toomey, along with each of Pennsylvania’s Republican congressmen, sent a letter to Governor Wolf stating that reasonable safety measures – like social distancing and masks – can allow Pennsylvanians to responsibly enjoy outdoor sporting events.
The delegation wrote:
“These commonsense measures coupled with holding events outdoors – where the science tells us the virus is less likely to be transmitted – can assist sporting event planners in minimizing risk to attendees. You recognized this fact when you approved the Carlisle Car Show to allow attendees, of which there were 20,000 each day for four days in June. We urge you to reconsider your policy of arbitrarily allowing certain events to skirt the 250-person rule and instead permit outdoor events of any nature, such as having spectators at sporting events.”
The full letter is below and available online here.
September 28, 2020
The Honorable Tom Wolf
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Governor Wolf:
We write today urging you to reconsider your opposition to allowing in-person attendance at school sporting events during the 2020-2021 school year, and with collegiate and professional football safely resuming across the country, we also encourage you to permit attendance at upcoming games. The Commonwealth’s arbitrary 250-person limit on outdoor gatherings is needlessly preventing Pennsylvanians from responsibly enjoying sports events and should be adjusted immediately.
As you know, the Pennsylvania General Assembly overwhelmingly approved on a bipartisan basis H.B. 2787, which entrusted local school governing bodies with setting safety protocols for in-person attendance at sporting events. School officials’ top priority is the safety of their students and the local community. Certainly, these elected representatives can draft reasonable measures to ensure families and community members can watch a football game while following safety protocols known to help combat the transmission of COVID-19, such as social distancing and the wearing of a mask.
These commonsense measures coupled with holding events outdoors – where the science tells us the virus is less likely to be transmitted – can assist sporting event planners in minimizing risk to attendees. You recognized this fact when you approved the Carlisle Car Show to allow attendees, of which there were 20,000 each day for four days in June. We urge you to reconsider your policy of arbitrarily allowing certain events to skirt the 250-person rule and instead permit outdoor events of any nature, such as having spectators at sporting events.
When given the chance, we know school officials can take a thoughtful approach to observing safety protocols. Earlier this year, Penn State developed a comprehensive “readiness plan” that would allow for 23,275 spectators, approximately one-fifth of Beaver Stadium’s capacity, to attend home games in person. Penn State’s plan included augmented seating arrangements, contactless ticketing and concessions, and rigorous cleaning procedures. Unfortunately, you decided not to grant an exception to the 250-person limit on outdoor gatherings needed to accommodate Penn State’s proposal. Without a change, Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and many other colleges will not be able to host events, depriving hundreds of Pennsylvania businesses of much-needed game day revenue and thousands of students, alumni, and Pennsylvania sports fans the enjoyment found in a time-honored tradition.
Finally, while both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles have announced that they will not host spectators in their stadiums until further notice, neither team has closed the door on the possibility of in-person attendance later in the season. Moreover, many of their NFL rivals have already begun to allow fans to return. We urge you to reconsider your opposition to H.B. 2787 and also work with local, collegiate, and professional athletic programs across the Commonwealth to ensure that loyal fans can attend these contests in a responsible manner.