Department of Health’s new guidelines raise questions for school sports capacity limit


The Pa. Department of Health has released new guidelines for ‘safe gathering limits’ across the Commonwealth. How will that affect spectators of high school sports?

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Editor’s note: The above video is from September 24.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released new guidelines for ‘safe gathering limits’ across the Commonwealth amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines were announced via a press release Tuesday morning.

Among the highlights are definitions of what an event or gathering is defined as by the Department of Health, how businesses must conduct business, and an amendment to two sections of the July 15 mitigation orders that will now include a “maximum occupancy calculator” for both indoor and outdoor events.

Here are the calculators:

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for indoor events: 

For every event with 0-2,000 people, the allowable indoor rate of maximum occupancy a venue can allow is 20 percent.

For every event with 2,001-10,000 people, the allowable indoor rate of maximum occupancy a venue can allow is 15 percent.

For every event with over 10,000 people,  the allowable indoor rate of maximum occupancy is 10% or up to 3,750 people.

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for outdoor events:  

For every event with 0-2,000 people, the allowable outdoor rate of maximum occupancy a venue can allow is 25 percent.

For every event with 2,001-10,000 people, the allowable outdoor rate of maximum occupancy a venue can allow is 20 percent.

For every event with over 10,000 people, the allowable outdoor rate of maximum occupancy a venue can allow is 15 percent or up to 7,500 people.

According to the Pa. Department of Health’s press release, venues must require attendees to comply with 6-foot social distancing requirements, to wear masks or face coverings, and to implement best practices such as timed entry, multiple entry and exit points, multiple restrooms and hygiene stations. 

Of course, this raises the question of how this affects the prospective spectators of high school sports across the state.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is set to hold a Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, October 7 at 2:00 p.m.

It is not immediately known how the Department of Health’s announcement will affect those proceedings or any athletics scheduled for this week.

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