Georgia Tech AD Todd Stansbury asks for cooperation in mask compliance

The new design of Grant Field at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, Sept. 1, 2020. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)
The new design of Grant Field at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, Sept. 1, 2020. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Credit: Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

Credit: Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

Georgia Tech does not intend to turn a blind eye to fans taking off their masks at its home opener Saturday.

Athletic director Todd Stansbury said Wednesday that fans will be expected to follow mask-wearing protocol while at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and that ushers will be called upon to help maintain mask usage.

That was among the health and safety measures planned for the game that Stansbury discussed during a videoconference with media. From a game-operations standpoint, Stansbury said that Tech was fortunate to have played a road game to start the season Saturday at Florida State. At Doak Campbell Stadium, a large number of fans did not wear masks in defiance of policy set by the athletic department, drawing criticism.

“I think we were able to learn some things,” Stansbury said. “Because of that, we will be more deliberate in asking people whose face masks may have slipped off or slipped down, or they forgot that they had something to eat or drink, to put their face mask back on.”

Stansbury said that ushers will be tasked with asking fans who aren’t wearing masks to put them back on. All fans will be required to wear masks while they are within the stadium perimeter. The only time that masks won’t be necessary will be while they are eating or drinking.

It may be a considerable task for ushers, given that there could be as many as 11,000 fans spread throughout the stadium. With the game televised nationally, Stansbury said that “a lot of people are going to be watching us to see whether we can pull this off in a safe manner. And so, obviously, all the time that we ask our teams to represent Georgia Tech in the right way, we’re also going to ask our fans to do the same.”

Stansbury highlighted other measures being taken to promote social distancing and a safe environment. Tech has shifted entirely to mobile ticketing and all purchases, such as concessions or merchandise, will have the ability for contactless transactions. Hand-sanitizing stations will be located throughout the stadium and cleaning crews “will be out in abundance,” Stansbury said.

Stansbury said that the decision not to permit tailgating Saturday for the Central Florida game after previously approving it was made in light of limits being placed upon the Tech student body.

“Given the restrictions that have been put on the students and the fraternities and what they’ve been asked to do as far as restricting their normal weekend and tailgating-type activities, we felt it was only prudent for us to set the example as well, knowing that we’ve asked them to really restrict what they would normally do,” he said.