High School Football finally returns this week with area schools participating in Jamborees before the official season begins September 4. As the teams take to the fields the look and feel of the game will be very different under COVID-19 orders issued by Governor Tate Reeves.
According to the order, “ticket sales are limited to two per student participating in the event, excluding, coaches, directors, teachers, officials, medical personnel, staff/workers and media. All attendees must wear face coverings at all times. All employees, staff and volunteers must wear face coverings. Social distancing shall be maintained between persons not residing in the same household.”
In addition, “Concession stands may be open. All workers must be screened prior to the worker’s shift and workers must wear face coverings. Social distancing must be observed while standing in line. Customers/attendees must not congregate near the concession stand. Every extracurricular event must have a dedicated Safety Officer to ensure compliance with the requirements for these events.”
Forest Mayor Nancy Chambers said Tuesday that with school and sporting events starting back residents need to be as mindful as ever about social distancing and wearing face coverings when in public.
“We are all in this together and we just need to keep on wearing our masks and social distancing, especially now that school is beginning to start,” Chambers said. “What we are doing is protecting lives and we just need to keep on with it.”
Last week the governor also issued social distancing measures for college and university outdoor stadiums and game day events to ensure the safety of participants and limit transmission in the continued fight against COVID-19.
“I know it’s a topic that we constantly get questions about. It’s something that’s been polarizing around the country — some conferences have opted not to make any effort to play. Some states have not yet put out their plans,” Reeves said. “This is an effort, which we worked closely with the universities on, to set a floor. We took their joint recommendations, and with a little work we put this plan together. This is the minimum that each school is required to do this fall, to keep players and spectators safe while allowing college football to occur.”
Under Executive Order No. 1519, bowl seating is limited to no more than 25 percent of seating capacity while maintaining six feet distance between households, with limits on club areas and suites as well. Additional social distancing measures include:
• Everyone over the age of 6 must wear masks as they enter/exit and throughout the stadium, unless they are seated. Masks are strongly encouraged while seated.
• Game day events such as tailgating and rallies outside the stadiums are prohibited.
• Individuals allowed on the sidelines are limited to those essential for the game.
• Concession stands are open, though grab-n-go food and drink options are strongly encouraged.
• All transactions should be contactless and touchless, such as mobile ticketing and cashless concessions.
As of Tuesday’s update from the Mississippi State Department of Health there were 801 new cases of COVID-19 being reported statewide bringing the total since March 11 — the date of the first recorded case in the state — to 79,206 with 2,315 people having died from the virus.
In Scott County a total of 1,074 cases have been reported since March 11 with 21 deaths. That is an increase of 34 positive cases of coronavirus in the last week and no new deaths.