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COVID-19: Limited Fans Allowed Back In Stands For NY College Sports

Large-scale sporting events (such as the Carrier Dome in Syracuse) will be permitting fans back in the stands at a limited capacity.
Large-scale sporting events (such as the Carrier Dome in Syracuse) will be permitting fans back in the stands at a limited capacity. Photo Credit: Syracuse University/Athletics

New York continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and soon will be permitting fans back into the stands at large- and small-scale college sporting events.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, March 30 that beginning on Friday, April 2, college sports can begin bringing fans back under strict COVID-19 guidelines set up by the state.

Intercollegiate sports at large-scale venues that hold more than 1,500 attendees indoors or 2,500 attendees outdoors can host up to 10 percent indoor or 20 percent outdoor capacity as of Friday.

Before being allowed inside the venue, anyone attending a game must present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or completed COVID-19 immunization.

Cuomo noted that colleges and universities hosting spectators for events at large-scale venues must notify and coordinate with their respective state or local health department to ensure that they are within the state’s guidelines for professional sports with fans in the stands.

Smaller-scale venues that hold intercollegiate, intramural, or club sports can host spectators at either two fans per player, or the social gathering limit of 100 attendees indoors or 200 attendees outdoors.

However, if the school or venue requires all attendees to present proof of a recent negative test result or completed immunization prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 attendees indoors or 500 attendees outdoors.

“College athletics not only provide opportunities for entertainment and community pride, but also plays a critical role in helping drive local economies," Cuomo said. 

"COVID has had a devastating effect on many aspects of our lives, and college athletics was not immune. While athletes have been able to resume competition in recent months, it hasn't been the same without fans in the stands cheering them on.”

The announcement comes after SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that he anticipates colleges to be able to fully open up to in-person learning as the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands to anyone 16 and over next week

“The presence of spectators at sporting events has always been a quintessential part of the collegiate experience—both for the athletes and the students, parents, and community members who root them on,” he said.

"After COVID robbed our student-athletes of these experiences for more than a year, we're thrilled we've been approved in bringing some fans back beginning later this week.” 

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