Fans Now Allowed At School Sporting Events, Must Follow Safety Guidelines

Some fans will now be allowed in the stand this fall

Andrew Limberg
September 02, 2020 - 12:17 pm

The ban on allowing fans at high school games in Pennsylvania has been lifted by Governor Tom Wolf but strict guidelines must continue to be followed.

Previously, only student athletes, coaches, officials and staff were allowed at sporting events. Band and cheerleaders were also allowed on site but were counted against gathering limits.

On the state’s COVID-19 website the guidance now says, “All sports-related activities must adhere to the gathering limitations set forth by the Governor’s Plan for Phased Reopening  (25 or fewer people for indoor activity, 250 or fewer people for outdoor activity) and the facility as a whole may not exceed 50 percent of total occupancy otherwise permitted by law. All individuals present at the facility at which such activities are held count towards gathering limitations and must comply with face covering order and social distancing guidelines.”

In Allegheny County that outdoor limit is 100.

That will give some fall sports like cross county and tennis a better opportunity for more fans, but with football, especially in Allegheny County, it could be more of a challenge.

Football is able to move forward in Allegheny County, even with the restricted number because each sideline is considered a pod with the third pod being those on the field.

It is not yet known if fans will be considered a fourth pod.

The state has issued the following guidance for spectators:

Seating areas, including bleachers, must adhere to social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet of spacing for anyone not in the same household. To assist with proper social distancing, areas should be clearly marked.
Everyone age 2 or older must wear face coverings (masks or face shields) at all times, unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, or fall under an exception listed in Section 3 of the Secretary of Health’s Order on Universal Face Coverings.
Caregivers or spectators should not enter the field of play or bench areas. Non-essential visitors, spectators, and volunteers should be limited when possible, including activities with external groups or organizations.
Parents should refrain from attending practices, or volunteering to assist with coaching.
Caregivers and coaches should assess levels of risk based on individual athletes on the team who may be at a higher risk for severe illness.
Caregivers should monitor their children for symptoms prior to any sporting event.
Children and athletes who are sick or showing symptoms must stay home.
The Wolf Administration still strongly recommends that school sports be delayed until January 1, 2021 but it is up to each school to decide how to move forward.

The PIAA voted last month to allow high school sports, going against Wolf’s recommendation.

In the WPIAL, only one school opted out of football this fall.

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