NFL 49ers hit with contact sports ban in home county

San Francisco (AFP) –


The NFL's San Francisco 49ers were sent scrambling to find a new home Saturday when California's Santa Clara County enacted a contact sports ban lasting until at least December 21.

County officials made the move among many to combat the spread of Covid-19, which hit record levels of 760 new cases and 239 hospitalizations on Saturday, both one-day records since the pandemic outbreak began in March.

Officials want to ensure adequate hospital capacity for the community.

But the restrictions will force the 49ers (4-6), who play Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, to make changes in their plans, with San Francisco home games scheduled at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on December 7 against Buffalo and December 13 against Washington.

"We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's emergency directive," the 49ers said in a statement. "We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed."

Under the rules that begin Monday, all recreational activities involving physical contact are temporarily prohibited, which would include 49ers practice sessions and games.

People re-entering the county from more than 150 miles (90km) are being required to quarantine for 14 days and outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people.

"I am gravely concerned by the continuing surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations," said Santa Clara County health officer Dr. Sara Cody.

"The number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity very soon if current trends continue."