Georgia State’s welcoming back all of their fans this fall

Photo Courtesy of Georgia State Athletics Department Archives

With Georgia State athletics starting to host sporting events at total capacity, the university tasked the athletics department with devising a plan where the safety of players and staff are at the forefront while also maximizing the best experience for every fan. 

The announcement for max capacity events came over the summer when the CDC loosened the COVID-19 restrictions. The athletics department plans to continue monitoring the pandemic and will act accordingly if the CDC or any higher-ups enforce any guidelines to slow the spread of the virus. The approach for these events is to take aspects from both the 2019 and 2020 models.

“We kind of went back to our approach back in 2019 before any of this was in [a] place where we were trying to sell out football stadiums and basketball stadiums,” Associate Athletic Director Mike Holmes said.Pushing season tickets, pushing individual game tickets, answering people’s questions because there are still some concerns out there to make sure folks are safe.”

The main focus behind the athletic department’s plan is the safety of the athletes, coaches and staff members. The athletic department requires players to wear a mask for everyone’s protection on the field or court. In the stands, fans are allowed to choose whether they want to wear masks or not.

The athletic department wants spectators to educate themselves on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep themselves and everyone else around them out of harm’s way.

“We’ll encourage wearing masks, and that’s kind of going back to governor guidelines, mayoral guidelines and USG guidelines,” Holmes said. “You almost kind of see two different environments created, kind of stands and a fans environment and an on-field environment,” Holmes said.

The transition back to full capacity games hasn’t been much of a challenge for the athletics department. They’re sticking to the script and going back to the routine. 

However, the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 has been both the easiest and most challenging part of this adjustment.

“In June and July of last year, we were still planning on full capacity for games, and people would ask, ‘How are you doing that?’” Holmes said. “It’s easy to plan for full capacity and then scale back, whereas it’s much harder to all of the sudden a week before an event, we’re planning for 5,000 people.”

Holmes and the rest of the athletics staff are confident in their abilities to deliver fans the safest events in the most entertaining way. The focus is to sell out games and prevent any outbreak on and off the playing field.

The only and most obvious concern is the sudden rise in cases due to the Delta variant. The athletics department acknowledged that this might worry more than a few fans and expressed understanding and respect for each fan’s decision. 

“It’s a factor that some fans aren’t comfortable with yet, and that’s understandable,” Holmes said. “It’s a serious concern.”

Times are changing, and life seems to be going back to the way it’s been for over a century; these times are unprecedented, and things can change at any moment. To ensure Georgia State athletics can host full capacity games year-round, fans must continue to do their part and respect others’ decisions in today’s climate.