The Southeastern Conference announced proposed guidelines for fans during the 2020 season. The league did acknowledge that these guidelines are pending future developments when it comes to COVID-19 and how the virus impacts possible fan attendance.
Individual schools do have the opportunity to add in addition rules and guidelines in order to better protect fans.
“These fan guidelines have been adopted by the 14 member schools of the Southeastern Conference as baseline recommendations for the campus management of fan health and safety,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a release. “Although local and state guidelines will determine if and how many fans can attend games, these guidelines provide conference-wide expectations for protection of guests who are able to attend our games.”
Among some of the more notable guidelines instituted by the league include:
- Face coverings (over the nose and mouth) shall be required as a condition of all guests throughout the stadium, as well as any time guests are unable to maintain the recommended physical distance from others who are not in their same household.
- The ability to tailgate will be left up to the individual schools.
- Team walks — IE the DawgWalk when Georgia players walk into the stadium — will be determined by individual schools.
- Entry and exit points for restrooms shall be clearly designated, and sufficient signage shall be in place to assist with traffic flow and promote physical distancing.
- Barriers (e.g., plexiglass) shall be installed at all points-of-sale or otherwise all concessions staff shall wear a face shield plus a mask.
- “Grab and go” food/beverage options should be considered at points-of-sale locations.
- Signs shall be installed at parking lots, pedestrian paths to the stadium, gates and/or other ingress/entry points that outlines mandates for all guests to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and mandates guests do not enter the stadium if they display any COVID-19 symptoms as outlined by the CDC.
- All tickets shall be digitally scanned.
- Institutions shall have a documented plan that outlines the procedures/protocol for appropriate disinfection of the stadium.
- Institutions shall have a documented plan that outlines the procedures/protocol for working with guests who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
- Institutions shall launch a communication/public relations campaign for communicating all COVID-19 procedures/protocol to prospective guests.
- “Suite hopping” shall be prohibited.
- Furniture shall be arranged in clubs to promote physical distancing.
- Each suite and club shall be supplied with sufficient hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity had previously stated that a plan to allow fans inside Sanford Stadium had been in the works.
“We’ve had an army of individuals working on what would our social distancing plan be, we’re going through the final pieces of that now,” McGarity said on July 31. “Once we release that, those that are able to come to our games can feel they are as safe as possible.
“We just want to do our best to create the safest environment for anyone in the confines of Sanford Stadium, whether that’s fans or student-athletes, that’s our charge.”
Georgia will have four homes during the 2020 season, as the Bulldogs host Auburn on Oct. 3, Tennessee on Oct. 10, Mississippi State on Nov. 21 and Vanderbilt on Dec. 5. The Bulldogs, as of now, will still play Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. on Nov. 7.
The Bulldogs will open the 2020 season on Sept. 26 against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Georgia held its first practice on Monday.
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- Former Georgia RB Nick Chubb suffers possible concussion in Cleveland Browns practice
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