Spectators may now attend school sports, but must follow gathering guidelines, new Pa. guidance says

Are parents in the stands safe? A local doctor explains how it can work

Spectators will now be allowed at school sporting events, but the state gathering guidelines still must be followed, according to updated guidelines from the Wolf administration.

The new guidelines say, “All sports-related gatherings must conform with the gathering limitations set forth by the Governor’s Plan for Phased Reopening.” Right now, indoor events are limited to 25 people and outdoor events are allowed no more than 250, except in Allegheny County where the limit is 100 people.

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Everyone attending sporting events are required to wear masks, unless they are outside and can consistently maintain social distancing six-feet apart. Athletes do not have to wear masks when they are working out or in competitions that prevent them from wearing face coverings.

Here is the following guidance for spectators provided by the state:

  • Seating areas, including bleachers, must adhere to social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet of spacing for anyone not in the same household. To assist with proper social distancing, areas should be clearly marked.
  • Everyone age 2 or older must wear face coverings (masks or face shields) at all times, unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, or fall under an exception listed in Section 3 of the Secretary of Health’s Order on Universal Face Coverings.
  • Caregivers or spectators should not enter the field of play or bench areas.
  • Non-essential visitors, spectators, and volunteers should be limited when possible, including activities with external groups or organizations. Parents should refrain from attending practices, or volunteering to assist with coaching.
  • Caregivers and coaches should assess levels of risk based on individual athletes on the team who may be at a higher risk for severe illness.
  • Caregivers should monitor their children for symptoms prior to any sporting event. Children and athletes who are sick or showing symptoms must stay home.

Dr. Marc Itskowitz, with the Allegheny Health Network, told Channel 11 there are ways to successfully make it work.

“Clear signage, people need to know exactly where they can stand or sit,” he said. “Outdoors is certainly safer than indoors. If you are going to be indoors, the total number of people have to be much less -- and we have to think more carefully about the ventilation because there still is a concern.

“What we’ve seen at other sporting events and other states is that if people do remain six feet apart, and if they wears masks, the risk of transmission is very low.”

Spectators may now attend school sports, but must follow gathering guidelines, new Pa. guidance says