Governor’s order limits crowds at high school football games

With the high school football season just a week away for the MAIS and a few weeks away for public schools, Governor Tate Reeves has signed an executive order limiting crowd sizes across the state.

The governor’s order will allow “two spectators per participant at any K-12 extracurricular activity.” Additionally, each event must have a safety officer present to ensure all social distancing measures are being followed. 

“Sports and these other activities are instrumental in the lives of our young Mississippians. They teach discipline and responsibility in a way that can’t be replicated,” Governor Reeves said during today’s press briefing. “That said, we are living through a pandemic. One of my greatest concerns heading into this school season has been sports and those other events which cause the community to come out in crowds. Twenty-two players on a field is not going to overwhelm a local hospital. Two thousand people in a small school’s bleachers might.”

Governor Reeves said it will be up to individual schools to decide if bands, cheerleaders, etc. will be able to attend games. If so, members of these groups will also be able to have two spectators in the stands.

The order mandates that masks must be worn as spectators move throughout the stadium or gymnasium if  “it is not possible to maintain a minimum of six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.” The Mississippi High School Activities Association previously announced guidelines of its own, stating “no mask, no entry.”

As for college sports, the current order in place allows for stadiums to operate at 25% capacity. Additional limitations could be issued next week as Governor Reeves said that conversations on that front are ongoing. 

In consultation with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the governor also extended Mississippi’s statewide mask mandate and the additional social distancing measures until August 31st.

With students continuing to return to classrooms across the state, Dr. Dobbs explained that schools in 38 counties have active cases of COVID-19 with 109 teachers and 69 students testing positive. Nearly 500 students & teachers are currently being quarantined. 

Watch today’s full briefing below: