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√ Large-scale college sports venues can host spectators at 10% indoor or 20& outdoor capacity
√ Recent negative test or immunization required for attendees
√ Small-scale college sports venues can host spectators at 2 per player, or social gathering limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors; with recent negative test or immunization, increases to 150 people indoors or 500 people outdoors
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced collegiate sports can bring fans back to the stands – under strict state guidelines – beginning April 2. Intercollegiate sports at large-scale venues that hold more than 1,500 attendees indoors or 2,500 attendees outdoors can host up to 10% indoor or 20% outdoor capacity.
All attendees must present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or completed COVID-19 immunization prior to entry. Colleges and universities hosting spectators for sporting events at large-scale venues must notify and coordinate with their respective state or local health department, aligning with the state guidance for professional sports competitions with spectators.
Small-scale college venues that host intercollegiate, intramural or club sports can host spectators at either two fans per player, or the social gathering limit of 100 attendees indoors or 200 attendees outdoors. However, if the school or venue require all attendees to present proof of a recent negative test result or completed immunization prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 attendees indoors or 500 attendees outdoors. Maximum occupancy limit of 50% remains in effect, pursuant to the state guidance for sports and recreational activities.
"College athletics not only provide opportunities for entertainment and community pride, but also plays a critical role in helping drive local economies," Cuomo said. "COVID has had a devastating effect on many aspects of our lives, and college athletics was not immune. While athletes have been able to resume competition in recent months, it hasn't been the same without fans in the stands cheering them on. Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers, we are now in a place where we can begin allowing them to return to games as well. As New York continues its work to beat back COVID and expand vaccine access statewide, we will continue to reopen different aspects of life through a science-based approach so we can return to normal as safely as possible.”
Spectators at college sporting events must adhere to strict health protocols including social distancing, face coverings and health screening. All retail, food services and athletic activities must follow existing state guidance for their applicable operations.
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "The presence of spectators at sporting events has always been a quintessential part of the collegiate experience – both for the athletes and the students, parents, and community members who root them on. After COVID robbed our student athletes of these experiences for more than a year, we're thrilled we've been approved in bringing some fans back beginning later this week. With rapidly expanding vaccine supply, SUNY's protocol of mandated once-a-week testing, comprehensive protocols for student athletes, SUNY positivity rates below half a percent, warmer temperatures, and a hardened, collective determination to defeat COVID for good – having some spectators can be done in a safe and secure manner."
This announcement is the latest effort by the governor and New York state to continue resuming in-person sports and entertainment to help jumpstart the state's economic recovery. On Feb. 10, Cuomo announced sports and entertainment events in major stadiums and arenas could reopen with limited spectators. Earlier this month, he also announced smaller-scale performing arts and live entertainment could resume; and on March 18, he announced the New York Yankees and the New York Mets will start their seasons with fans in the stands at 20% capacity beginning April 1.