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As air quality worsens, Kyle Shanahan says 49ers could be forced to postpone season opener

© Mark J. Rebilas | 2020 Feb 2

As if there wasn’t enough to be worried about, now even the air we breathe isn’t safe.

That’s currently the case all over the west coast, where fires in Oregon and Central California continue to rage and negatively affect air quality in the surrounding regions. The San Francisco Bay Area has been hit especially hard in recent days, with air quality far exceeding 200 AQI, considered very unhealthy.

When air quality reaches such levels, it is unsafe for anyone to engage in prolonged activity outdoors. A level exceeding 200 on Sunday would be a deal breaker for the 49ers’ home opener vs. the Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.

“Once it gets to 200 it does (affect us), because you’re not allowed to be out there after that,” Kyle Shanahan said on “Murph and Mac” Friday morning. “If it gets to 200 that would be a huge deal. I know when it’s above 150 that does affect a certain group of people that happen to be higher risk, pre-existing conditions, if it got above 150 you could lose a few players, but 200 is the mark where you can’t go out there.”

At the moment, the outlook for the weekend is not promising. According to IQAir, levels are forecasted to reach 217 in Santa Clara on Sunday, which would be a deal breaker. There are some more optimistic forecasts from local meteorologists, however, with some projecting there should be a new wave of fresh air by Sunday.

Should the game not be allowed to take place in Santa Clara, it’s unclear if it would be moved to an alternate site, or simply postponed until it could be played at Levi’s Stadium safely.


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