BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: The following information is from the SEC:
The Southeastern Conference has announced a number of game operations guidelines for its 14 member schools, following up on its initial medical protocols and fan guidelines announced earlier this month, as the Conference continues to monitor developments around the COVID-19 virus.
“The health of those around SEC athletics events remains in focus and, following advice of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, we continue to develop policies intended to provide a healthy return to competition,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Some of these are difficult decisions but are a reality of our circumstances, and we will continue to develop and refine policies as we monitor issues related to COVID-19.”
ESSENTIAL ON-FIELD PERSONNEL
Essential personnel shall be the only individuals who have game day access to field and sideline, to include student-athletes, coaches and support personnel, game officials, medical personnel, limited institutional personnel, law enforcement, a limited number of photographers and contracted radio/TV personnel, and other limited personnel essential to the execution of the game.
All individuals with access to the team bench area must participate in the SEC COVID-19 testing protocol.
In football, where stadium capacities are reduced if fan attendance is permitted, the host institution shall provide the visiting institution a minimum of 500 tickets located in the lower level of the stadium. The visiting institution may be provided more or less than these 500 tickets upon mutual agreement of both institutions.
Bands will be restricted from performing on the field before games and at halftime. The policy will be revised during the year based on developments around COVID-19.
Where stadium capacities are reduced if fan attendance is permitted, visiting team bands and spirit squads shall be prohibited from attending games at SEC stadiums; SEC institutions shall have the discretion on whether their band and/or spirit squad attends a conference (SEC vs SEC) neutral site game.
On-field performances, presentations and recognitions shall be prohibited including, but not limited to, sponsor and donor recognitions and athletic department student-athlete and team recognitions.
Home institutions are required to disinfect home and visiting team spaces prior to each game utilizing approved disinfectants. These spaces shall include the locker rooms, coaches’ rooms, training rooms, sidelines, coaches’ booths and any additional areas provided to either team. The visiting team shall be allowed to further disinfect its spaces utilizing approved disinfectants after receiving approval from the home team’s facility staff on the disinfectants it desires to use. Upon completion of disinfection, the spaces and equipment must be locked down until the teams are granted initial access on Thursday or Friday prior to game day. Once both teams have accessed their spaces, only team staff are allowed inside the spaces and no outside individuals, including television personnel, are allowed access.
Press box seating capacity shall be no more than 50% of current seating availability in the press box, and all individuals in the press box shall wear a face covering. If required by national, state and/or local guidelines, the press box seating capacity shall be less than 50% of the current seating available in accordance with the national, state and/or local guidelines.
Post-game press conferences will be conducted virtually.
The Southeastern Conference has announced guidelines to manage the health and safety of fans in preparation for the 2020 football season.
These guidelines are pending future decisions or changes about allowing fans to attend games.
"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 guests who are able to attend our games."
Institutions may adopt additional procedures and protocols consistent with their specific needs and circumstances to help protect the health and safety of all in attendance.
- Institutions shall determine the number of guests permitted to attend in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations. In the absence of state and/or local guidelines, policies and/or regulations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on physical distancing should be applied.
- Face coverings (over the nose and mouth) shall be required as a condition of all guest ingress, egress, and movement throughout the stadium, as well as any time guests are unable to maintain the recommended physical distance from others who are not in their same household.
- Stadium workers and athletics staff should wear face coverings at all times.
Food, Beverage and Merchandise
- Barriers (e.g., plexiglass) shall be installed at all points-of-sale or otherwise all concessions staff shall wear a face shield plus a mask.
- Queuing lines at points-of-sale shall permit physical distancing between guests.
- "Grab and go" food/beverage options should be considered at points-of-sale locations.
- Beverages shall be provided directly to guests. Machines designed to allow guests to fill or refill beverages must remain inoperable.
- Condiments shall be offered only as single-serve condiments, and condiment carts shall be prohibited.
- All portable points-of-sale locations shall be strategically placed to ensure physical distancing is permitted between guests who are in line or may be in close proximity to the selling location for other purposes.
- Signage shall be installed at parking lots, pedestrian paths to the stadium, gates and/or other ingress/entry points that outlines mandates for all guests to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and mandates guests do not enter the stadium if they display any COVID-19 symptoms as outlined by the CDC.
- All tickets shall be digitally scanned.
- The footprint at all gates and ingress/entry and egress/exit points shall permit physical distancing between guests.
- Institutions that cooperate with and/or arrange for shuttles to transport guests to/from the stadium shall ensure the shuttle operator has sufficient protocols/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.
Plans for Disinfection, Symptomatic Guests, Communication/Public Relations and American with Disabilities Act
- Institutions shall have a documented plan that outlines the procedures/protocol for appropriate disinfection of the stadium.
- Institutions shall have a documented plan that outlines the procedures/protocol for working with guests who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
- Institutions shall launch a communication/public relations campaign for communicating all COVID-19 procedures/protocol to prospective guests.
- Institutions shall ensure they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the development and implementation of all procedures/protocols.
Premium Seating - Suites and Clubs
- "Suite hopping" shall be prohibited.
- Sufficient signage that promotes and instructs suite holders to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing shall be installed near ingress/entry points.
- Furniture shall be arranged in clubs to promote physical distancing.
- Each suite and club shall be supplied with sufficient hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations.
- Guests shall be permitted to access "field level" suites or clubs that are not within six feet (6') of any team area. Additionally, institutions must ensure guests 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 utilizing the same pathway.
Public Areas Inside Stadium
- Institutions shall ensure the set-up and operational procedures in all areas accessed by guests permit physical 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
- Sufficient signage that promotes and instructs guests to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing shall be in place in areas accessed by guests.
- Signage must specify the maximum number of guests 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.
• Entry and exit points shall be clearly designated, and sufficient signage shall be in place to assist with traffic flow and promote physical distancing.
• Institutions shall implement measures that promote physical distancing, reduce touch points and/or assist with minimizing the spread of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, the following:
o Installing additional hand sanitizer and hand soap dispensers; and
o Leaving doors open at entry/exit points.
- Institutions shall determine whether tailgating or other large gatherings of guests (e.g., alumni events, university recruiting events, etc.) are permitted on property owned and/or controlled by the institution in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations. In the absence of state and/or local guidelines, CDC recommendations on physical distancing should be applied.
- Considerations should be given as to the time parking lots open.
- Institutions shall determine whether team walks are permitted in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations.
- If permitted, all institutional personnel (e.g., student-athletes, coaches, team staff, athletic department staff, etc.) and guests in attendance shall wear face coverings.
- If permitted, institutions shall ensure recommended physical distancing exists and may be maintained at all times between walk participants and guests. Team walks shall be prohibited if physical distancing cannot be implemented during its entirety.