INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts will play this season's home games in front of crowds at full capacity after the local county health department approved the team’s plan Tuesday.
The announcement means all 32 NFL teams intend to open the season in front of full houses this September.
Team officials said in a release that most of last season's COVID-19 protections will be relaxed or eliminated, though specifics are expected to come later this summer. The team also said it will continue to be vigilant to kept fans safe and healthy.
Last season, the Colts played in front of crowds of up to 12,500 in the 63,000-seat stadium.
“We were fortunate to be able to host fans in 2020 through the pandemic, and those fans were as loud and proud as ever,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement.
“But gamedays at Lucas Oil Stadium are like family reunions, and it wasn’t quite the same without our entire Colts family alongside us. We can’t wait to reopen the stadium doors to all our fans so they can take this journey with us as we work to bring a Super Bowl title back to Indianapolis.”
The Colts host Seattle in the Sept. 12 season opener.
The announcement came the same day team officials announced Indy would return to Grand Park Sports Campus in nearby Westfield, Indiana, for training camp — in front of fans.
Players report July 27 and the first practice will be held July 28, but fans must maintain a 20-foot distance from players and coaches because of NFL protocols.
The Hamilton County health department approved a plan that allows for 100% capacity, no COVID-19 screening and optional face coverings. Fans will not be allowed to attend practices that are moved indoors.
Indy is scheduled to host joint practices with the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 12-13.