49ers can't play, practice under Santa Clara County guidance


The 49ers won't be able to practice or play games in Santa Clara County for at least the next three weeks under the county's latest guidance.

Starting Nov. 30, "all contact sports" in the county will be temporarily prohibited through at least Dec. 21 in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Public Health Department announced Saturday in revising Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody's risk reduction order. 

"The update today to the professional sports and collegiate sports directive will temporarily suspend activities that require direct physical contact or interaction in Santa Clara County," County Counsel James Williams told reporters Saturday. "So that means for those teams, they will not be able to play games or have practices where they have direct contact within the county."

The 49ers are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Rams on the road Sunday, but they have two home games scheduled during the revised directive: Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Bills and Dec. 13 against the Washington Football Team. They're also scheduled to host the Seattle Seahawks in the regular-season finale on Jan. 3.

“We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s emergency directive. We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed,” the 49ers said in a statement released in response to the county's new guidelines.

It's not yet clear where the 49ers would play their remaining home games. Berkeley's Memorial Stadium, the Oakland Coliseum, UC Davis Health Stadium and Sacramento's Hornet Stadium are located in Northern California and have all hosted NFL or college games. Each stadium, however, is located within counties that are within California's purple tier, the state's strictest in terms of restrictions.

Williams said the county has been in touch with the 49ers, other professional and collegiate sports teams and "all the affected parties" by the newest guidance.

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Santa Clara County moved into California's purple tier amid a rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations earlier this month. The Public Health Department said in a release the county set single-day highs for new cases (760) and hospitalizations (239) on Saturday.

“I am gravely concerned by the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” Cody said in a statement “The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity very soon if current trends continue.”

If the 49ers don't return Sunday after the game against the Rams, they could be subject to a two-week quarantine. Starting Monday at 12:01 a.m. PT, anyone returning to the county after traveling more than 150 miles will need to quarantine 14 days.

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