The SEC announced Tuesday that face coverings will be required for all fans attending games this fall and that each institution will determine whether tailgating will be allowed on school property. But season-ticket holders will have to wait a while longer to find out whether they made the cut to get in.
The SEC stated that the schools will determine the number of fans who will be allowed to attend, but that the decision will have to be in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines and adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. That’s generally thought to be in the area of 25 percent.
In Georgia’s case, that would leave about 23,000 seats available for the four home games to be played in 92,746-seat Sanford Stadium. How the Bulldogs would distribute tickets among a donor base that already has laid claim to 60,000 tickets, plus 16,000 students and the families of players is a matter of great interest to Georgia fans, who have yet to get official word from UGA about a distribution plan.”
Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity indicated that could be as soon as this week.
“We’ve talked about that in depth within the conference as far as what we’d need to do to maintain a safe environment and I think everybody’s comfortable with that,” McGarity said Tuesday as a guest on the “Bulldog Roundtable” radio show on The Fan. “There are challenges associated with it. There will be some people upset with it; some will be happy. But that’s just the world we live in right now. It’s just an imperfect world, and we’re doing the best we can.”
The key, however, is that there is, in fact, a plan for fans to attend. That’s better than the current situation with MLB, NASCAR and MLS, which are playing without fans in attendance. And the Falcons have announced that they will play the month of September without fans.
Georgia’s first home game is not until Oct. 3, when it will play host to Auburn. Its other three home games are against Tennessee (Oct. 10), Mississippi State (Nov. 21) and Vanderbilt (Dec. 5). What would be the Bulldogs’ fifth home game against Florida is being played in Jacksonville on Nov. 7. There will be a different distribution plan for that contest.
Other baseline guidelines detailed by the SEC on Tuesday include:
- Face coverings over the nose and mouth will be required to enter or exit stadiums and to be used whenever moving about.
- Social distancing of at least six feet will be required between seating blocks of fans.
- All concessions must be “grab and go” and people in line must remain six feet apart.
- All tickets will be digitally scanned.
- Institutions must have a documented disinfection play for before and after games;
- “Suite hopping” in premium-seat areas will be prohibited.
- Clearly marked entry and exit points shall be designated in restrooms and doors must remain open.
- Team walks will be permitted, but face coverings must be worn at all times.
- And, finally, individual institutions will determine whether “tailgating” will be permitted.
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