Saints will host Carolina inside dome in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints will be hosting the Carolina Panthers on Sunday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints released a statement Monday saying president Dennis Lauscha and team staff met with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to talk about how to get fans safely back into the stadium for games this season. The meeting included epidemiologists and the mayor’s own medical advisers.

The team noted in a statement that New Orleans’ COVID-19 positivity rates remain stable.

“The city currently has one of the lowest rates in the nation,” the Saints said. “We all agree that the priority is to make sure our city’s residents and our fans are safe and not to regress from the progress that has been made. We look forward to providing our fans more information shortly.”

The Saints (3-2) have played three of eight scheduled regular-season home games in the Superdome so far this season with no ticketed fans in attendance. The few hundred in the stands consisted primarily of privately invited family members of players, coaches or staff.

The Saints had asked Cantrell to allow ticketed fans to occupy about 25% of the Superdome’s 73,000 seats while wearing masks and following other social distancing guidelines for last week’s Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. That request was denied.

One of New Orleans’ losses came inside the Superdome to Green Bay. The team had started talking with LSU about playing games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge as a way of getting fans into the stands for Saints’ games.

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