Schools can submit plans requesting higher spectator capacity at events, DeWine says

Gov. DeWine updates Ohio's COVID-19 response

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Gov. Mike DeWine discussed a variance provision plan for schools with regards to Ohio’s fall sports order.

The order issued last week stated spectators at events should be limited to family members of the athletes, coaches, cheerleaders, or band members.

Gov. DeWine said on Tuesday the goal of the sports order is to allow only family members and not spectators.

There is however a variance provision in that order that would allow a school to request a higher spectator limit, the governor explained.

Outdoor sports events are limited to less than 1,500 spectators or 15% fixed capacity, under the order issued last week.

Indoor events are limited to less than 300 spectators or 15% fixed capacity, per the order.

“Ideally, the spectator limit would enable at least two, and perhaps up to four, family members to attend a sports event, provided that the venue is large enough to allow at least six feet of social distancing between groups,” the governor explained.

If schools want to request a higher spectator limit than order allows, Gov. DeWine said they can submit a plan to their local health departments.

The governor said schools making these requests should ask themselves three things:

  • Is a variance needed for home and away family members to attend?
  • Can everyone be socially distanced?
  • Can the home school prevent the requested number of spectators from congregating?

The home school or venue is responsible to monitor and enforce the social distancing requirement, prohibition on congregating among spectators, and the other provisions outlined in the sports order, according to Gov. DeWine.

He did point out this variance is not intended to expand the numbers of spectators beyond family members of both teams.

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