GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - New attendance limits for K-12 sporting events are now in effect, which greatly limited the crowd size as two of the Coast’s premier rivals, Gulfport and Biloxi, squared off on the hardwood.
The gym still featured many of the same sounds, but there weren’t nearly as many people.
“It is a big rivalry game; the fans and people want the crowd here. Let the crowd be here man,” said Vincent Armstrong.
Gulfport was already preparing to limit ticket sales by 75% of their capacity prior to the newest executive order.
“The new EO says we can only sell 250 tickets. We were planning on selling 500. The previous EO said that you can sell as many as 25% of the capacity of your facility. This gym holds 2,000 so we could sell 500 tickets,” said Gulfport Athletic Director Bryan Caldwell.
That plan went out the door as new restrictions were announced on Wednesday by Gov. Tate Reeves.
“We do have to recognize that there is more risk to large indoor gatherings such as basketball than we had in those fall outdoor sports and activities,” Reeves said.
While there may be more risk, fans were still sad to see the smaller crowds.
“Yeah, it is a little disappointing. Knowing this rivalry game here, there is normally well over a thousand people here. So coming in today, it is kind of disappointing for the home crowd to not even have both sides of the gym open,” said fan Milton Barney.
Some are upset that more loved ones can’t come out to support under the newest regulations.
“It kind of do make me a little upset for the people who want come support either Biloxi or Gulfport,” said one Gulfport student.
Several also commented on the lack of COVID-19 policy enforcement at football games versus what we are seeing now during basketball season.