Green Bay Packers prepare Lambeau Field for a home opener without fans in the seats
GREEN BAY – Preparing Lambeau Field for a football game normally is not this easy.
Maintenance workers on Thursday installed tarps over the first eight rows of seats in the Lambeau Field bowl, an initiative adopted by the NFL to distance players from fans. There will be no fans at Lambeau Field when the Packers host the Detroit Lions on Sunday, but the NFL allowed teams to put advertising on the tarps.
The playing field on Tuesday had yet to be painted for the game, but there are no concessions stands to prepare, no security scanners to put in place, no ushers, parking attendants or vendors to train and assign.
Lambeau Field, including the Packers Pro Shop, Packers Hall of Fame, 1919 Kitchen & Tap and stadium parking lots, will be closed Sunday. In other words, there will be no tailgating on Lambeau Field property.
"We just felt it was best to keep the lots closed with the stadium itself not being open to the public," said Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs.
Across South Ridge Road, Titletown District will be open, although no events organized by the Packers are planned.
The Packers will play their first two home games, Sunday at noon against the Lions and Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. against the Atlanta Falcons, without fans.
"After that, it's just taking a look at where the pandemic is," Popkey said of the remaining six home games scheduled for Lambeau Field. "We continue to encourage people to model all the proper behavior: wear masks, socially distance, wash your hands."
The first possible chance for fans to get into Lambeau Field for a home game will be Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers' season opener in Minnesota on Sept. 13 was played in front of empty seats, and no fans will attend the game in New Orleans against the Saints on Sept. 27. The first time the Packers might play in front of a limited crowd would be Oct. 18, after the bye week, when they play in Tampa against the Buccaneers.
The one exception to Sunday's parking lot closure will be at Johnsonville Tailgate Village, where fans will be able to pick up Gameday To-Go packages of Lambeau Field food for their game-watching parties. Orders must be in by Thursday at Packers.com/togo.
Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/