The San Francisco 49ers will play their next two home games in Glendale, Ariz., the team announced in a statement on Monday. The relocation came after health officials in Santa Clara County, Calif., where the team’s stadium is, banned contact sports at all levels through late December in a bid to slow the surge in coronavirus infections there.
The team will play its games in Week 13 and 14 in State Farm Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals, which was able to accommodate the move because the teams’ schedules do not conflict. The 49ers (5-6) will play against the Buffalo Bills (8-3) on Dec. 7 and face the Washington Football Team (4-7) on Dec. 13, but the club still has not determined where they will practice and live during that time.
“Very appreciative of Arizona welcoming us during these unprecedented times,” 49ers team owner Jed York wrote on Twitter, thanking the Cardinals team owner Michael Bidwill.
While local and state guidelines for controlling the spread of the virus have prevented spectators from attending some N.F.L. games in other markets this season, this is the first time local health protocols have prevented a team from playing games or practicing in its home market. This summer, health officials in Santa Clara were among the first to ban fans at N.F.L. games and passed an ordinance requiring players and coaches to wear masks at all times, months before the league took the same step last week.
On Saturday, Santa Clara County took new measures intended to reduce the rate of infections, including mandatory 14-day quarantining of people who travel there from more than 150 miles away, as cases in the area rose to a new high last week and its positive cases per 100,000 people to climbed to 26.8. The number of infections per 100,000 residents in Maricopa County, Ariz., site of the Cardinals’ stadium, is 48.6, nearly twice as high as in Santa Clara County.