Georgia State fans are satisfied with new attendance guidelines

Pounce, along with guest, wear a mask to follow the new guidelines set for attendees at Center Parc Stadium. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar

Sports returned in July, beginning with the MLB’s condensed season. Then, the NBA successfully produced the Orlando Bubble. But they just felt different.

Cardboard cutouts filled baseball stadium chairs. The MLS and NBA’s biggest fans proved their love for their teams on the sideline’s virtual boards.

Times have changed recently, though. Fans are back! 

The dynamic, game-changing spectators have returned to arenas, albeit with changes that should not surprise anyone. 

Georgia State’s restrictions and guidelines for all sporting events, most notably in the Center Parc Stadium and GSU Sports Arena, mirror most of the country, if not the entire world when it comes to most events. 

Each venue at Georgia State requires social distancing where possible. Additionally, face coverings are required even before entering the stadium. 

“All individuals with a ticket and attending Georgia State football games at Center Parc Stadium are required to wear an approved personal face covering at all times while within the stadium perimeter,” the school stated in a press release last month.

The stadium perimeter begins inside the Olympic Gates off Georgia Avenue and stretches to the security queues at all stadium entrances and will call windows.

The Sept. 18 volleyball game against the Mercer Bears was the first sporting event held at Georgia State in the Fall. Georgia State enforced the protocols, and the event went off without any significant incident. Players could wear a mask on the court if they wanted to, and the school requires the crowd to wear masks. 

This strictness has held throughout all sports, including the football team’s rout of East Carolina on Oct. 3. The protocols were much more prominent, as the typical sea of blue became dispersed blocks of family members and friends.

With attendance capped at 50%, the Panther Band spreads out through their usual sections of the crowd. There have been times that students have had to be reminded of the rules, as senior Ca’shawn Brown described what she saw at the game.

“The [COVID-19] protocols did not bother me or my friends, really,” Brown said. “The only thing that jumped out to me [was] that security had to break up crowds of students multiple times. Aside from that, it felt fine.”

With the reduced number of fans and protocols in place, it has not been a massive detriment to most fans, parents and players who come to the events.

“So far, I think [Georgia State] has done a pretty good job. I don’t have to go [to] many places, but when I have seen any crowds or events on TV, they look spaced out. There have not been many cases here, so they must be doing a good job,” Alexander Hodgson said as he returned from the dining hall. 

Georgia State continues stressing comfortability and risk management for its fans attending events. However, they can only control so much; there is no way to completely mitigate the risk of going to a sporting event. 

“I believe in how the protocols are working. I mean, the Panther Band has been clear of any positive test. I haven’t heard anyone else testing positive,” color guard member Taylan Cheeks said. “For the band, it looks like all the protocols are working, so I have no reason to distrust the measures being taken. There is always a chance something happens, but so far, so good.”

Overall, that is what it comes to: The University System of Georgia will keep giving the fans a choice on whether they attend and under what circumstances. That choice, coupled with the proper protocols, is all that most people ask. So far, it has turned out successfully for Georgia State and fans alike, which is a win for all involved.