Saints won’t have fans in stands for Tom Brady’s Bucs debut

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The Saints won’t have fans in the stands for their season opener Sept. 13 in what will mark Tom Brady‘s debut with the Buccaneers.

The team announced the decision Wednesday night.

“Mrs. [Gayle] Benson has appointed an internal management team that oversees all elements of our business relative to our COVID-19 planning, protocols and responses,” Saints president Dennis Lauscha said in a statement. “Each morning she is briefed on the latest programs and plans and on our daily communication with ASM Global [which manages the stadium]. Her overriding directive and priority is the health and safety of our fans, our employees, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome staff and all of the coaches and players.”

Team officials met with health and safety experts, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and City of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell this week to share the comprehensive health and safety plan to allow fans to attend Saints home games.

“Unfortunately, at this time, the trends across our state and region do not meet the standards of health and safety we have established with our healthcare and government partners to host fans in the stadium for the first home game,” the Saints said in their statement. “While state numbers are trending in the right direction, further mitigation of cases is needed and a reduced infection rate is required for the team to welcome back its fans.”

The team has not made a decision for the seven home games after the opener. The Sept. 27 game against the Packers is the next home game after the Bucs.