UPDATED, 12:48 PM: The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers said today that they will play their next two home games at the Arizona Cardinals’ home field after Santa Clara County — where Levi’s Stadium is located — enhanced its Covid-19 guidelines for professional, collegiate and youth sports over the weekend.
The team’s Monday Night Football matchup next week against the division-leading Buffalo Bills and its December 13 game against the Washington Football Team will be played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ, with the Cardinals set to play this Sunday at home and the following weekend on the road.
“The San Francisco 49ers have come to an agreement with the National Football League and Arizona Cardinals which allows the 49ers to host their Weeks 13 and 14 home games against the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium in Arizona,” the club said in a statement today. “The Cardinals organization, State Farm Stadium and League officials have been supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games.”
No word yet on the fate of the 49ers’ scheduled Week 17 home game against the division-rival Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco is coming off a Week 12 road win against another NFC West rival, the Los Angeles Rams.
Coincidentally, the NFL said today that the 49ers-Cardinals game set for December 26 will air exclusively on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.
PREVIOUSLY, November 28: An already difficult National Football League season just got tougher for the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFL, already reeling from having to move a Thanksgiving Day game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers twice because of Covid-19 concerns, now may have to find a home for the 49ers to finish their season.
On Saturday, Santa Clara County, home of the 49ers and their home field Levi’s Stadium, forced the issue Saturday by creating enhanced Covid-19 guidelines for professional, collegiate, and youth sports. That means no contact sports in any place in the county.
The ban includes a 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling to the county from more than 150 miles away. The new orders are set to begin Monday.
“All recreational activities that involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports, will be temporarily prohibited,” the order said. “People can continue to engage in outdoor athletics and recreation where social distancing can be maintained at all times.”
The 49ers have two home games scheduled that would be affected, including Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Bills Monday night and Dec. 13 against the Washington Football Team. Those games will have to be relocated, and the team will have to find new practice facilities outside the county.
James Williams, counsel for Santa Clara County, said at a press briefing today that nobody is exempt from the new rules.
“[This] will temporarily suspend activities that require direct physical contact or interaction in Santa Clara,” Williams said. “So, that means that for those teams, they will not be able to play games or have practices where they have direct contact within the county.”
The new health guidelines also affect the Stanford and San Jose State football teams, and the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Stanford has a home game scheduled for Dec. 12, while San Jose State has home games set for Dec 5 and Dec. 12.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.