SEC announces fan health, safety guidelines ahead of upcoming football season

SEC announces fan health, safety guidelines ahead of upcoming football season
Team walks were among the items addressed in the SEC's Fan Health and Safety Guidelines for the upcoming season. This photo was taken on Oct. 1, 2016 before South Carolina's game against Texas A&M. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Southeastern Conference has announced guidelines to help universities establish expectations to manage the health and safety of fans ahead of the 2020 season.

“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,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Although local and state guidelines will determine if and how many fans can attend games, these guidelines provide conference-wide expectations for protection of fans who are able to attend our games.”

Here’s a look at the guidelines:

ATTENDANCE

According to the SEC, schools should determine the number of fans allowed to attend games in accordance with state and local guidelines, policies, and/or regulations. If these state or local guidelines are not applicable, CDC recommendations should be applied.

FACE COVERINGS

Fans will be required to wear face coverings as they enter, exit, and move through stadiums. Fans will be also be required to wear face coverings in instances when social distancing cannot take place. Stadium employees and athletics staff members will also be required to wear masks at all times.

ENTRY AND EXIT POINTS

The SEC is encouraging the use of signs in parking lots, pedestrian paths, gates, and any other entry points to the stadium that outline the requirement to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and mandates that fans do not enter the stadium if they show signs of any COVID-19 symptoms. Stadiums will also have footprints or signage at entry and exit points to permit social distancing between fans. All tickets will be digitally scanned.

PUBLIC AREAS INSIDE STADIUM

  • Schools will ensure the set-up and operational procedures in all areas access by fans allow social distancing including, but not limited to, the following areas:
  • Guest Seating
  • Concourses and Gathering Places
  • Dining Areas (high top tables, extended countertops, etc.)
  • Concessions Sales
  • Merchandise Sales
  • Restrooms
  • Elevators
  • Escalators

Sufficient signage that promotes and instructs fans to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing shall be in place in areas accessed by fans.

Signage must specify the maximum number of fans who may be inside an elevator simultaneously at each elevator entry point (elevator operators shall wear face coverings).

The usage of traditional water fountains or other apparatuses providing drinking water shall be prohibited and all must be clearly marked or covered to indicate its use is prohibited. This does not apply to apparatuses that use touchless technology.

Sufficient hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations should be present throughout the stadium.

FOOD, BEVERAGE, AND MERCHANDISE

Barriers will be installed at all points of sale or concessions staff members shall wear a face shield and a mask. “Grab and go” food options should be considered at all points of sale and drinks will be directly provided to fans. Condiments will be offered as single-serve condiments. Condiment carts will be prohibited. Any portable point of sale will be strategically placed to ensure social distancing is allowed between fans who are in line and those close to the selling location.

Lines at points of sale will permit social distancing between fans

RESTROOMS

Entrances and exits for restrooms will be clearly designated and there will be signs to assist with traffic flow and promote social distancing. Schools will also put measures in place to promote social distancing, reduce touchpoints, and/or assist with minimizing the spread of COVID-19. That includes installing additional hand sanitizer and hand soap dispensers as well as leaving doors open and entry and exit points.

PLANS FOR DISINFECTION, SYMPTOMATIC GUESTS, COMMUNICATION/PUBLIC RELATIONS AND AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT

Schools will have a documented plan that provides procedures for the disinfection of the stadium and protocols for working with fans who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. These procedures and protocols should be communicated with fans through a public relations campaign. Schools should also comply with the American with Disabilities Act while developing and implementation of all procedures and protocols.

SUITES AND CLUB SEATS

“Suite hopping” will not be allowed. There will be sufficient signs that promote and instruct suite holders to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing at the entry and exit points. Furniture will be arranged to promote social distancing.

Suites will be provided with hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations.

Fans will be permitted access “field level” suites or clubs that are not within six feet of any team area. Plus, schools must ensure fans do not access a pathway to enter or exit a “field level” suite or club at the same time a student-athlete, coach, team staff member, game official, or other game participant is using the same pathway.

GUEST SHUTTLES

Schools that cooperate with and/or arrange for shuttles to take fans will ensure the shuttle operator has sufficient protocols or procedures in place including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Maintaining physical distancing while guests are on the shuttle, entering/exiting the shuttle and while waiting in lines to board the shuttle;
  • Requiring face coverings as a condition for shuttle usage for drivers and guests at all times while aboard the shuttle, entering/exiting and while waiting in line; and
  • Planning to sufficiently and regularly disinfect the shuttle.

TAILGATING

Schools will determine if tailgating or other large gatherings will be permitted on property owned by the university in accordance with state and local guidelines, policies, and/or regulations. If those do not apply, CDC recommendations should be applied.

TEAM WALKS

Schools will determine if team walks will be permitted in accordance with state and local guidelines, policies, and/or regulations. If allowed, all fans in attendance will be required to wear face coverings. Schools should also ensure recommended social distancing between walk participants and fans.

Team walks will not be allowed if social distancing cannot be implemented during the entire walk.

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