Texas fans cheer as their team competes against Kansas State in the first half of an NCAA college football game at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Nov., 9, 2019. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

BEVO BEAT Football

Austin health official: Even 25% stadium capacity a challenge for Texas football this fall

School officials have said they will adhere to state guidelines, not city mandates

Posted July 30th, 2020

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Austin Public Health director Dr. Mark Escott continues to believe that having fans at Texas football games this fall would be problematic as far as COVID-19 is concerned.

School officials have said previously they are not bound to any city mandates and will adhere to all state-issued guidelines.

“The challenge with UT Football at 25% capacity…if the prevalence of disease on game day is similar to today, with 25,000 fans we can expect more than 100 of those fans to be COVID-19 positive…and then it multiplies,” Escott tweeted Thursday. “Let’s stick to watching football on TV this Fall!”

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Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte had already informed fans the school was planning on 50% stadium capacity at Royal-Memorial Stadium this fall. That’s in line with Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandate for 50% capacity for all statewide pro and college stadiums.

On Thursday, interim UT President Jay Hartzell notified campus that the school is now looking at 25% capacity after a request from the UT System Board of Regents. It’s also anticipated that UT fans in attendance will be required to wear a face covering, although the school has yet to announce any formal fan guidelines.

“As we approach the start of the football season, we will closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 and make final decisions based on the guidance of our Board of Regents and state health officials in the coming weeks,” Hartzell wrote in a campus-wide email.

The Big 12 is expected to make a decision on the upcoming football season as early as next week.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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