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Kansas City Chiefs plan to have fans at season-opener

FILE PHOTO: NFL Football - Super Bowl LIV - Kansas City Chiefs v San Francisco 49ers - Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida, U.S. - February 2, 2020. Kansas City Chiefs fan outside stadium before the match. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

(Reuters) - Reigning Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs have announced plans to allow some spectators to attend their NFL season-opener against Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium next month.

The Chiefs said Arrowhead would operate at a reduced capacity of about 22%, meaning about 17,000 fans would be allowed in instead of the usual 76,000, and that the plans had been approved by public health officials.

"Included in the approved plans are important health and safety protocols that the club ... has developed for fans who will attend games at Arrowhead Stadium," the Chiefs said in a statement here.

All spectators will have to wear masks and follow physical distancing protocols, cash transactions will not be allowed at concession stands, and hand sanitizers will be placed throughout the stadium.

“As the season progresses, the club will follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts, with the potential that local regulations will allow for different capacities at different points during the season,” the Chiefs said.

The NFL has allowed teams to make their own decisions on whether fans can attend games this season, based on local guidelines and health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Several teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, have already announced plans to allow their stadiums to operate at a reduced capacity this season.

Other teams, including the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, are unlikely to have fans present during their first few games of the season due to local restrictions on public gatherings.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel

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