Lions inch toward hosting fans at Ford Field, welcoming 500 friends and family on Sunday

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions are moving slowly toward having fans at Ford Field, welcoming 500 friends and family of the team's players and coaching staff for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. 

“Hosting friends and family this Sunday against the Colts is a great step toward our goal of welcoming fans back to Ford Field this season," team president Rod Wood said in a statement. “With health and safety being the top priority, this is an opportunity to further evaluate new stadium protocols on a larger scale. We continue to collaborate with local, state and national health officials on increasing capacity for our remaining home games."

Players warm up in Ford Field with no fans in attendance during Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season.

In line with state guidelines, the Lions didn't allow fans for the first two games of the 2020 season. And while the state's Supreme Court struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's emergency order power in October, the state's department of health and human services, as well as the city of Detroit, have since issued separate COVID-19 guidelines. 

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Detroit's public health order, announced earlier this month, limits indoor gatherings to 500, the exact number being allowed by the Lions this weekend. 

This news comes on the heels of the state recording its highest seven-day average of new COVID cases. Death rate and hospitalizations remain well below their peaks, but have been on the rise in recent weeks.