HARRISBURG, Pa. - Gov. Tom Wolf's office is relaxing restrictions on fans at high school fall sporting events.
The governor had originally said fans may not be in attendance during games this year. He released revised guidance Wednesday that removed that ban, but with some conditions.
It said “spectators may attend sporting events,” but they count toward the statewide gathering limits of 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.
All people at the facility count towards gathering limitations, including athletes, coaches, staff and media. Face masks and social distancing are required, according to the guidance.
Coaches at William Allen High School in Allentown say that won't be a problem outside.
"Our stadium is massive, it seats about 1800 people. Certainly fans are able to socially distance here extremely well and extremely safe," said coach Jarred Max.
Coaches and athletes are happy to have fans back in the stands. Ivan Vanegas is a senior on the soccer team for Allen and is thrilled his family can watch his final year.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to bring them in due to me having support from my family and loved ones, it makes me work harder for Allen," Vanegas said.
According to the guidance, sports organizations are not required to submit a safety plan for approval to the state Department of Health if fewer than 250 people are present at an outdoor site or directly outside of the site.
Professional sports organizations that want to play or practice with more than 250 people at an outdoor site or directly outside of the site, or 25 people or more for indoor sites, must submit a plan to DOH for approval. According to the guidance, the administration will not approve plans submitted to DOH which include spectators in or directly outside of the site or venue.
Everyone involved in sport activities must wear a face covering, such as a mask, unless they fall under an exception listed in the Secretary of Health’s Universal Face Covering Order. Coaches, athletes, and spectators must wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least six feet.
Athletes are not required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition that prevent the wearing of face coverings, but must wear face coverings when on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. and any time six feet of social distancing is not possible.
The guidance also reiterated Wolf's recommendation that sports should be scrapped entirely until 2021.
The state House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday allowing schools to create their own spectator policy. It now moves to the Senate for another vote.