East Alabama Schools dealing with limited capacity at football games

East Alabama Schools dealing with limited capacity at football games
Opelika's stands won't be as full as usual this year. (Source: Paul Stockman)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - High school football will look a lot different this year. Instead of packed stadiums, many schools in our area will be less than half full. Some East Alabama teams will be less than half full. That’s the case for Opelika.

“Approximately 2,000 people will be in the stadium,” Opelika Athletic Director Mike Pugh said.

They’re also going with paperless transactions. All tickets will be sold online ahead of the game, and there won’t be any tickets sold at the gate.

Auburn High is also limiting their seats. Just 25 to 30 percent, meaning that for the time being only family members of players will be allowed in.

“We measured every bleacher, the length of every bleacher and looked at standard seating distance to get to a number so we would know how many people we could put in a seat in the stadium,” Auburn High Athletic Director Dan Norton said.

Phenix City’s Garrett-Harrison stadium is following the same guidelines. A press release from Superintendent Randy Wilkes said the capacity will be limited to 25 percent and they’ll be going with paperless ticket sales. 

It’s been a challenging time for local schools, especially with some questions still unanswered.

“We’re doing the best possible thing we can to keep people safe and yet still get parents,” Pugh said.

“It is going to have an impact on the spectator atmosphere especially for some of those really big games, but ultimately a team’s got to play in the white lines so whatever happens in the stands they have to play in the white lines,” Norton said.

But one positive, we can still have fans in the stands on kickoff, something that wasn’t guaranteed weeks ago.

“We’re going to get to week one barring any disaster happening between now and next Friday, but we’re not guaranteed anything after that,” Norton said. “We need to cherish every practice we can get together and every game we play. "

Below are the other east Alabama schools and their plans for the year.

Lafayette - TBD

Lanett - 50% capacity for first game.

Eufaula - TBD

Glenwood - no limitations as long as there are masks

Smiths Station - 25%

Valley - TBD

Lakeside - TBD

Springwood - TBD

Chambers - No limit on fan attendance - fans follow regular social distancing rules - fans must wear mask.

Beauregard - TBD

Beulah - TBD

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