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The Penguins will not have fans in attendance for January home games

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Dallas Stars v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in some strange visuals from a sports fan’s perspective. Indoor and outdoor gatherings have largely been limited, no matter what state you reside in.

In the case of the Penguins and their impending start to the regular season, we now know that PPG Paints Arena will be empty through the team’s first four home games.

From the Penguins:

Due to state and local protocols, the Penguins announced they will not be able to have fans for their four January home games at PPG Paints Arena.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania currently limits gatherings in indoor arenas to 500 people. For Penguins games, that number includes players, coaches and hockey operations staffs from both teams; Penguins and PPG Paints Arena game-night staffs; and media, broadcasters and broadcast crews.

The very limited remaining capacity will be restricted to family and friends of the players and team.

“We look forward to welcoming fans back to PPG Paints Arena as soon as state safety protocols and capacity-limits allow for it,” said Kevin Acklin, chief operating officer of the Penguins. “We will remain in regular contact with state and local authorities, as well as the NHL, and will make an announcement when fans are permitted to attend. The health and safety of our fans and players will always be our top priority.”

The Penguins open their home schedule on Sunday, January 17 against the Washington Capitals. Other home games this month are January 19 against the Capitals, January 22 against the New York Rangers and January 24 against the Rangers.

This is unfortunate news, but these protocols provide the safest course of action for all involved.

While we wait for the green light from the state and the team, COVID-19 vaccines are slowly but surely being administered throughout the country, meaning fans may be able to cheer on the Pens from behind the glass sooner rather than later.