SEC announces fan, gameday health and safety protocols

The Southeastern Conference announced the baseline health and safety guidelines for fans, including mandatory face coverings over the nose and mouth.

Many of the health and safety protocols are left up to each school to determine, such as if fans will be allowed to attend and how many may do so, if "tailgating or other large gatherings of guests (e.g., alumni events, university recruiting events, etc.) are permitted" on campus, and if the team will hold team walks like UGA's Dawg Walk.

Each instutition "shall determine the number of guests permitted to attend in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations," the SEC said. 

The requirements for the 14 member schools are "pending future decisions related to the allowance of fans to attend games" as the COVID-19 pandemic and information develops.

Individual schools can adopt additional protocols consistent with their specific needs and circumstances to help protect the health and safety of all in attendance. 

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 3: Georgia Bulldogs mascot Harry Dawg leads the team past fans during the Dawg Walk before the game against the LSU Tigers at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Athens, Georgia. LSU won 20-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Image

"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," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.

Stadium workers and athletics staff must wear face coverings at all times, the conference also said. Concessions staff must also wear a face shield on top of the mask.

As for concessions, the SEC requires barriers like plexiglass to be installed at points of sale and for social distancing to be enforced as fans wait in line. The conference also recommended "grab and go" food and drink options, single-serve condiments, and that self-filling drink stations "must remain inoperable." Water fountains will be prohibited as well, unless they have touchless technology.

Tickets will be completely digital, and signs outside stadiums must make clear that fans must be masked up to enter.

The SEC also mandated that "suite hopping" is prohibited in premium seating and club areas. Any field-level suites or clubs may not be within six feet of any team areas or pathways.

Hand-sanitizing or hand-washing stations must also be prevalent throughout the stadium for fans to utilize.