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Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez: ‘We’ve had conversations with the Dolphins’ about fans at games

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NFL: Super Bowl LIII-Host Committee Handoff Ceremony Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins on Monday kicked off the Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief Program with a goal of providing 1,000 meals daily to people around Miami Gardens. The drive, held at Hard Rock Stadium, looks to assist with the food insecurity issues in the local area, an issue that has only been amplified with the COVID-19 restrictions, layoffs, and economic hardships currently facing the nation, and will provide meals each weekday and on Sundays for at least a year.

Dolphins owners Stephen Ross developed the idea, with $2 million already donated by Ross and the Miami Dolphins Foundation, with another $1 million pledged to match fundraising donations. The kickoff event on Monday featured Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel, general manager Chris Grier, head coach Brian Flores, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Among the talk of the work the Dolphins are doing to assist the community, Gimenez was asked about the possibility of football returning to Hard Rock Stadium this fall, and if fans could be allowed to attend the games. “Even in terms of fans, it’s a big place and you have the ability to stay away from each other,” Gimenez replied, according to Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “Fifteen percent capacity, 20 percent capacity. We’ve had conversations with the Dolphins.”

“It will be a great day when we can get on the football field and play football again,” Garfinkel added. “I think the country needs those outlets. I know talking to some of the players they can’t wait to get on the field. If they can do it safely I would expect us to be playing. And if we can have fans and do it safely I would expect us to have fans. But that would be up to a lot of other people, not me.”

The Dolphins are scheduled to host their first preseason game of 2020 on August 20, a preseason Week 2 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. Their first regular season contest at Hard Rock Stadium is in Week 2, September 20, against the Buffalo Bills. Miami opens the regular season against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The NFL is currently allowing 50 percent of team staff to return to work at team facilities, not to exceed 75 personnel. They currently are not allowing coaches or players to return to the facilities, unless the player was previously receiving treatment from an injury. Teams are allowed to hold virtual meetings.

Coaches are expected to be allowed to return this week.