JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – UF Health CEO Dr. Leon Haley said Thursday he anticipates the Jacksonville Jaguars will be able to safely host more than 65,000 fans for home games when the season kicks off this fall.
“I say go ahead and buy your tickets. I’m going to go ahead and buy my ticket,” Haley said.
Haley, whose son plays in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, weighed in on the much-anticipated 2021 season during a Thursday conference call with city leaders.
Haley said his prediction is based on the idea that more and more people continue to get vaccinated and there is no new surge of coronavirus variants. Right now, about 2 million people are receiving shots each day in the United States, he said.
“So I would encourage you though, if you’re going to go, I would certainly recommend that you get vaccinated along the way,” Haley added. “I think we should be able to get to full stadiums in the fall. And I think people should feel comfortable about that.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars already said last month the team expects to have a full capacity crowd at TIAA Bank Field this year.
Health and safety protocols put in place during the 2020 season at TIAA Bank Field are expected to continue there indefinitely, the team said, but rules limiting the crowd to 25% of capacity last season are expected to be gone when the team takes the field in August.
“There is obviously the risk that there’s some other variant that could develop that changes the whole ballgame. But right now, I feel very comfortable that we can have full stadiums in the fall, it’s outdoors,” Haley said.