49ers need temporary home due to county sports ban
The San Francisco 49ers appear in need of a temporary home after Santa Clara County officials on Saturday banned professional, college and youth sports games and practices through Dec. 21.
The strict health mandate was announced due to the “severe surge” of COVID-19 in a county that is also home to college programs Stanford and San Jose State.
The mandate goes into effect on Monday.
“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 on 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.”
Neither the 49ers nor the NFL issued an immediate response to the ban.
The 49ers (4-6) play at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but are slated for three more home games: Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Bills, Dec. 13 against the Washington Football Team and Jan. 3 versus the Seattle Seahawks.
Santa Clara County health official Dr. Sara Cody is deeply troubled by the recent uptick in cases.
“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.”
The county had a single-day record of 760 cases on Saturday, according to the Mercury News.
The 49ers haven’t had fans in the stands of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara due to county health orders.
Another complicating factor for the 49ers is a new travel ordinance going into effect that will require a 14-day quarantine for people traveling in and out of the county from more than 150 miles away.
The 49ers could elect to remain in Los Angeles after Sunday’s game as they sort out destinations. Oakland and the Phoenix area — perhaps Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe — could be possible sites for upcoming home games.
The 49ers also have had repeated COVID-19 issues within their football squad in recent weeks. As of Saturday, San Francisco had five players on the reserve/COVID-19 list and removed three from the list during the week.
As for Stanford, the program has a home football game scheduled for Dec. 12 against Oregon State.
San Jose State has upcoming home games against Hawaii (Dec. 5) and Nevada (Dec. 11).
The NHL’s San Jose Sharks could also be affected in terms of preseason practice sessions. Their upcoming regular-season schedule hasn’t yet been announced.
–Field Level Media