A provision in the order lets schools request a higher spectator limit by submitting a plan to their local health department and the Ohio Department of Health.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine gave a green light for sports to take place this fall in Ohio with the order he put forth last week.
After having conversations with school officials, athletic directors, coaches, and parents, he provided some further details during Tuesday’s COVID-19 press conference in Columbus.
DeWine said that many of the questions he received had to do with the number of spectators allowed at high school events.
The order limits the maximum number of spectators to the lesser of 1,500 individuals or 15% of fixed seated capacity for outdoor sports venues. For indoor sports venues, it is the lesser of either 300 individuals or 15% of fixed, seated capacity.
“The main purpose of permitting spectators at school sports events is for officials and family/household members and loved ones of players, coaches, team staff members, other event participants (like marching band and honor guard) for both home and away teams to attend,” said DeWine. “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 did say that a variance provision in the order lets schools request a higher spectator limit by submitting a plan to their local health department and the Ohio Department of Health explaining why a different capacity is needed and how social distancing will be achieved.
DeWine says if a school wants to ask for a variance, they should ask themselves three questions:
- Is a variance needed for home & away family members to attend?
- Can everyone be socially distanced?
- Can the home school prevent the requested number of spectators from congregating?
According to the sports order, is the responsibility of the school/venue to monitor and enforce the social distancing requirement, prohibition on congregating among spectators, and the other provisions outlined.
DeWine says the variance cannot be used for expanding the number of fans beyond family members of both teams, the home band, and others who may perform during the event.