Included in the layout for the four home games slated to start on October 3 are sections for more than UGA students, faculty and staff, player families and visiting team families.
“We looked at models (of seats) for two to eight,” Brooks said. “But when you started thinking about a clean, simple, and easy-to-use ticketing application system and a fair system that donors would understand, it was best to go for two and four.”
Brooks and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity spent 36 minutes with reporters on Wednesday explaining the plan and answering questions about the upcoming football season. McGarity was asked if he thought it was risky to consider playing football during a pandemic.
“We have plenty of time, throughout September, to assess things,” McGarity said. “We just need to be able to pivot if necessary. But we still have a lot of time before our first home game. … We believe that the way we have mapped out the stadium, we can maintain social distancing and still adhere to CDC guidelines to keep people as safe as possible. Again, people can opt out. “
ExplorerSEC Participation Guidelines for the Fall Season
Here are some other talking points from UGA officials:
Will there be tailgating?
McGarity: We will make that decision a little later. I know Alabama has already come out and said there is no tailgating – Arkansas too – but we’ll wait and see. We don’t have to make that decision right now, but as Game 1 approaches, we’ll be making these tailgating decisions. We’ll just wait and make that decision a bit later.
Will there be a “Dawg Walk? “
McGarity: We do not know yet. Social distancing isn’t really conducive to the Dawg Walk as we know it today. But it’s really the only way for our team to get into the stadium now, so I’m sure that will change to some extent. We just haven’t targeted those plans when we start in October.
Will there be a student section?
Brooks: Yes. It was important for us at the beginning to maintain the student section, and the footprint was not affected. We actually increased the student footprint slightly. … We have a meeting scheduled for today. We will start to meet with more student leaders to confirm the allocation plan and make sure they are comfortable with what we are working on. We also want to keep this section for them.
Will the Redcoat Band or the cheerleaders be there?
McGarity: This remains to be determined. I know the Medical Advisory Working Group (SEC) provides guidance to athletic directors as we move forward. It has not yet been determined as to how the group and the cheerleaders will operate this year.
Will the mask rules be applied?
Brooks: According to SEC information, you must have them when entering or moving around the stadium, but if you can maintain a distance of six feet inside the stadium, you do not have to wear the masks. … In the blocks that we have presented, you can maintain social distance.
Is there a point or not?
McGarity: I don’t think there is a deadline; we have not designated any. … I just think we look at the news daily and listen to what our other peer institutions are doing, as well as the Big 12 and the ACC, the AAC and all the other players, and so keep an eye on everyone. I just think it’s too early to set a deadline. I think it should be match week at the latest, but we’ll just wait and see what happens on a daily basis.
What are the safety and hygiene measures inside the stadium?
Brooks: This will be a big part of our operation this year. We’re going to have hand disinfection stations all over the stadium. All our staff will be really masked, all dealers will have face shields, masks, gloves. It is very important to think about all of these things and follow all CDC guidelines when talking about concessions, toilets, entry, exit. This is what gave us the confidence to move forward with this plan knowing that with a crowd of this size, dealership and washroom operations will be easy. Entry and exit will be easy. We can handle it. … We are going to do a deep cleaning. There will be a caretaker assigned to each bathroom who will constantly wipe the contact points. We are going to disinfect all the toilets on the day of the game, all the common areas. I feel really good with the plan.
What about the Florida game in Jacksonville?
McGarity: We (will be handing out tickets) like we do in the regular season there. Obviously, you have fewer tickets. But the distribution process will be consistent with our regular road games.
Is there a chance that attendance will go up or down for home games?
McGarity: I just think we have to be prepared to pivot both ways. If we can go up that would be great. But we do not anticipate this. But we could also pivot in the other direction.
Why no road-game tickets?
McGarity: This was perhaps one of the quickest decisions we’ve made as a group (within the SEC), to limit that. We basically wanted to make sure that we could maximize the opportunities for our local fans, because we knew we would all be at a very low capacity level. So we wanted to make sure that our fans, our students, our professors and our staff would be maximized. And the ability to travel will be minimized for fans anyway.
Will schools be able to use man-made noise or whatever to create an atmosphere or some other benefit on the ground?
Brooks: I can tell you from my days in Louisiana-Monroe that 18 to 20,000 people can make noise in a stadium and I think our supporters are quite lively and will make noise. … I’m sure the conference rules will be involved but it’s something we haven’t gotten over yet.
Special considerations for Sky Suite owners?
McGarity: They will operate at half capacity. They are separated from the general population. The suites have 16 places, so they can accommodate eight. But that’s going to be a group that the sequel owner invites, and they’ll kind of be in charge of their own sequel. But they will be at 50% of their capacity.