The Alabama Department of Public Health said a memo issued Thursday by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) says spectators will be allowed to attend football games and other athletic events, but attendance likely will be significantly reduced, according to a news release. Under the state’s current safer-at-home public health order:
· “Players, coaches, officials, and spectators may not congregate within 6 feet of a person from another household except to the extent necessary, and only to the extent necessary, for players, coaches, and officials to directly participate in the athletic activity.” That 6-foot distancing rule for spectators likely will significantly reduce attendance at most football stadiums and at many other sports venues.
· Spectators must wear a mask or other facial covering that covers the nostrils and mouth at all times while within 6 feet of person from another household. Limited exceptions are allowed, such as for children who have not yet entered second grade and for people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a facial covering.
State health officer Dr. Scott Harris said the AHSAA in its memo Thursday said the Best Practices guidance the association issued last month “was created to mitigate — not eliminate — the risk of COVID-19.” The memo issued Thursday says schools are “strongly encouraged to establish and follow policies for limiting event attendance in order to comply” with the current public health order, and to require fans to wear facial coverings while entering and exiting the gates, while in the stands, and elsewhere. Dr. Harris stressed that the current public health order applies to schools and school-related events.
In addition, all persons with symptoms and all persons with known exposure to a COVID-19 positive case must quarantine for at least 14 days. Persons who are awaiting test results for COVID-19 should also remain at home until they receive results and guidance from their physician, healthcare provider, or the health department. Having a negative test does not eliminate the requirement for home quarantine when persons are close contacts to a COVID-19 positive case or remain symptomatic without another diagnosis. The Back to School Toolkit provides additional information and is available with other school resources at www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/schools.html.
Retesting to obtain negative results, after having COVID-19 infection, is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Thus, repeat testing is not recommended for return to work or school after a person recovers from COVID-19.
For more information, visit alabamapublichealth.gov. The current Safer at Home order can be viewed at the following: www.alabamapublichealth.gov/legal/assets/order-adph-cov-gatherings-072920.pdf