BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Saturdays this fall will look different after Gov. Tate Reeves announced new game day restrictions for college football on Thursday.
Those restrictions are found in Gov. Reeves latest executive order, which was released Aug. 20. That order primarily focuses on social distancing and includes the following:
- Tailgating on game day is prohibited.
- Stadium capacity is limited to 25-percent.
- Everyone over the age of six must wear a mask when entering and exiting the stadium...
- Concession stands will be open but Governor Reeves strongly encourages only grab-N-go food and drink options.
Handling game day operations is going to bring a new set of challenges for security teams. Swetman Security, which is based in Biloxi, works with campus police during Ole Miss and Southern Miss football games.
The company’s CEO Windy Swetman says a higher focus is being placed on balancing the amount of staff needed.
“That does reduce the staffing going in there, so there’s some equality in regards to that, as far as proportions,” said Swetman. “There’s a balance to the number of staff, to the number of fans that are coming in. Certainly, there are critical access points that no matter if there were one fan or 50,000 fans, we’re still going to have to staff those positions.”
The hope is that adding these social distancing measures will limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep the college football season moving forward.
Dr. Jess Mullens believes these extra steps are critical to keep players healthy throughout the entire college football season.
“I think it’s important for these kids to get out there and play sports because they’re trying to compete for scholarships and their livelihood moving forward,” said Mullens. “If we can limit their exposure to the virus by trying to socially distance, wear masks, try to limit tailgating, it’s the least we can do for these kids.”
These safety precautions are just the minimum for what each school is required to do this fall. Individual campuses are also implementing their own policies.