(WXYZ) — In response to the confusion surrounding statewide COVID-19 guidelines, the Michigan High School Athletic Association says it will allow more fans at sporting events, effective immediately. The guidelines to expand spectator sizes for indoor and outdoor events was announced at the end of September, and was set to go into effect on Oct. 9.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding state COVID-19 orders following the Supreme Court's decision regarding Gov. Gretchen Whtimer's powers, the MHSAA decided to immediately implement their guidelines.
All other guidelines under the MHSAA's safety rules remain the same, a release states.
"Given the recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court on Oct. 2, along with the Emergency Order issued by MDHHS on Oct. 5, the MHSAA is providing this updated guidance," a release states. "In general, the MHSAA is advising member schools to maintain the status quo for the time being, because of all of the uncertainty surrounding the enforceability of the EO's, MDHHS orders and county health department restrictions."
Those rules include:
1. Face Coverings: Based on the MDHHS Emergency Order of October 5, there will be no change to the face covering requirements as outlined in MHSAA guidance to schools from both September 10 and 30. Face coverings continue to be required of fall athletes in football, soccer and volleyball. Face coverings continue to be required of officials when not involved in active officiating which includes arrival at the site, pregame duties, timeouts, intermissions, extended stoppages in play and any postgame responsibilities while still onsite. The face covering re-quirement for everyone else present including coaches, trainers, managers, media members, game administration and spectators also remains unchanged. Remember that social distancing MUST be followed at all times for everyone except athletes and officials involved in active par-ticipation during the contest.
2. Crowds/Gathering Sizes: As of October 6, if an indoor event is in a fixed indoor seating venue (gymnasium or pool), 20% of seating capacity is allowed for up to 500 spectators (25% in Re-gion 6). If your gymnasium seats 2,500 or more, you would be able to sell 500 spectator tickets. If your gymnasium seats less than 2,500, take 20% (or 25% in Region 6) of your maximum ca-pacity to determine the number of allowed spectators. If an outdoor event is in a fixed outdoor seating venue (football or soccer stadium), 30% of seating capacity is allowed for up to 1,000 spectators. If your stadium seats 3,333 or more, you would be able to sell 1,000 spectator tick-ets. If your stadium seats less than 3,333, take 30% of your maximum seating capacity to de-termine the number of allowed spectators. Note that if an outdoor event is NOT in a fixed out-door seating venue (cross country, golf, soccer field with no permanent/fixed seating), a site must maintain no more than 30 spectators per 1,000 square feet of the facility, up to a maximum of 1,000 spectators. We realize this will be challenging to enforce in cross country and golf in particular given the massive expanse of many cross country and golf courses. In these cases, use every opportunity possible to announce and remind all involved to keep social distancing at all times. Effective immediately, local schools may use these new indoor and outdoor limitations or may continue to use the two spectators per participant guidance. If local health department orders exist that are stricter than these updated MHSAA requirements, member schools and host venues are expected to follow those local orders