LHSAA issues new COVID-related restrictions; warns of $500 fines for non-compliance
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) Executive Director Eddie Bonine released an "urgent" memo to member schools following the governor's decision to revert to a modified Phase 2.
New safety guidelines and restrictions for high school sporting events state-wide include social distancing, mask-wearing, and capacity limitations of 25%. While these safety measures were once recommendations, they are now required.
Bonine says that failure to comply with these measures will result in a $500 fine and the loss of hosting and potentially participating in any further football games and/or winter sports, such as basketball, wrestling, soccer, and powerlifting, according to the release.
These restrictions include all parishes in Louisiana, even if the coronavirus positivity rate is below 5%.
"This spectator capacity will include, but is not limited to, any/all individuals seated in fixed and/or newly installed portable seating provided for fans/spectators and support groups such as dance team, cheerleaders, and band members," Bonine stated.
All attendees will be required to wear a face-covering and social distance in the stands.
"No one is to be seated next to each other. There must be six feet of separation between all attendees," Bonine said.
LHSAA says in order to continue interscholastic participation "as we currently know it," any and all precautionary measures must be taken.
In addition, the athletic association says LHSCA coaches cards will be accepted at the discretion of the host member school.
"Membership across our state have utilized various forms of game or match ticket sales, which has allowed them to adhere to facility capacity requirements. Many schools have setup processes so these cards can be recognized prior to game day walkups."
Bonine advises checking with host sites for their protocol.
"The LHSAA did not accept LHSCA coaches cards at state volleyball tournament and the same practice will be in place at the state football championships," Bonnie stated in the release.
Due to many disregarding LHSAA's COVID-19 recommendations and guidelines, the association says those suggestions have become requirements.
"Please do not put my office in a position to render a decision on whether you are in compliance, or worse yet, the Governor's office in a position to shut us down," the athletic association concludes.
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