AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday, University of Texas Athletics announced the practices it says it will implement for fall sporting events — including the 2020-21 football season, scheduled to begin Sept. 5.
Last month, UT Athletics announced the Longhorns would play the season with Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium at 50% capacity for home games.
New safety measures will include:
Arrival and gate entry
Fans will be required to enter at assigned gate as listed on their mobile tickets. Social distancing markers will also be placed at these entries and following them will be strictly enforced, UT says.
Guests will be required to have clear bags to expedite entry/security checks.
All guests and staff will be required to wear face coverings that fully cover their nose and mouth. Social distancing will still be required, in addition to covering of faces.
Cleaning and sanitizing
The school says that Attis Clean hand sanitizer kiosks will be installed throughout the stadium — Attis Clean, UT says, exceeds the minimum alcohol concentration recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to effectively inactivate COVID-19 and other pathogens.
Additionally, UT says all stadium restrooms, suites and clubs will be treated and staff will routinely clean all high-traffic/often-touched surfaces with antibacterial spray and wipes. Attendants will also be assigned to restrooms throughout games to monitor cleanliness.
Regular tickets and entry to the stadium will be mobile-only. Season ticket holders will be able to access their tickets via the Texas Longhorns app.
In the announcement, Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte said:
“It is more important now than ever that we remain united as one with our horns held high. Whether you are attending with us in-person on gameday, or engaging with us from afar, your support is the lifeblood of our program. Gamedays at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium are one of the most revered traditions in college sports, and we can’t wait to see the Burnt Orange and White faithful cheering on our teams this fall.”
If you’re planning to tailgate before UT home games, you’ll need to keep tents at a distance
Texas Athletics says all tents must be 10×10 in size and all tailgating set-ups must be 40 feet apart.
Additionally, UT says all guests at tailgates must adhere to local and state COVID-19 safety requirements in place at the time of the tailgate, including but not limited to face coverings, social distancing and number of attendees.
Should UT football games be held at all?
Dr. Mark Escott, Austin’s Interim Health Authority, said in July that holding football games in the fall was “not really living in the realm of reality for what we’re likely to experience this fall.”
Escott said Austin health officials were caught off guard by UT’s decision, saying that he’d advise against the 50% capacity guideline, which he estimated to be around 50,000 people.
“I’ll say again what I said a month or two ago, and that is that large gatherings are the first thing that closed down and should be the last thing to open up again,” Escott said. “I think the idea of having 50,000 people in one space is a bit of reach right now.”