CLEVELAND — On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine extended the statewide curfew that is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night but also issued variances for upcoming sporting events scheduled during those hours, including the upcoming Monday Night Football game the Browns are set to play against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ohio Department of Health will issue a variance for teams, allowing spectators to attend the games during the hours of the curfew. In that variance, the Browns will be allowed to host fans on Monday as they take on the Ravens under prime time lights.
Also included in the variance is the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Columbus Crew MLS championship game, and the anticipated University of Cincinnati conference championship game.
DeWine said that the start times to the games are dedicated by national television contracts and the games would not be finished until after the 10 p.m. curfew, hence the variance to allow the games to continue as regularly scheduled and to allow fans to remain at the game for its entirety.
The Browns have been implementing measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, including mandating fans wear face masks or coverings, socially distancing those in attendance, limiting the number of spectators to 12,000, in addition to the games being held outdoors. Those protocols remain in order.
DeWine said the biggest risk from the games is not from the fans in attendance at the stadiums and venues but rather from other fans who may want to gather with friends to watch games inside without following mask or social distancing protocols.
The governor urged those watching the games to rethink gathering with friends indoors and watch the game safely.
“I know the importance of sports to keep our morale up, but I ask that you enjoy these events responsibly,” DeWine said.