One day after Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 70 — which limits the number of people allowed to gather in a group setting — the TSSAA has announced new restrictions on who will be allowed to attend high school athletic events.
Because of the significant increase in COVID-19 infections across the state, TSSAA executive direction Bernard Childress released the restrictions — which are effective immediately and will continue through Jan. 19, 2021 — on Monday evening.
"Unfortunately, large scale attendance by spectators and students must be curtailed," Childress said. "Doing so means that bands, pep bands, cheerleaders, and dance teams may not attend athletic contests while these restrictions remain in place.
"In accordance with the new Executive Order, the only attendees permitted at practices or games, in addition to the student-athletes on the team are: players' parents or guardians and immediate household members, first responders, coaching and team personnel, school, game and facility administrators, athletics officials, media and athletic scouting personnel attending the event in their professional capacity.
Social distancing between persons from different households is required. While the Executive Order does not mandate the use of masks, Gov. Lee has encouraged masks to be worn.
Childress added that the TSSAA had conferred with the Governor's office and that while the restrictions are the minimum, school official may require additional limitations on attendance depending on particular schools, facilities or community circumstances.
"TSSAA concurs with the Governor's office that these restrictions represent the best means for us to continue providing interscholastic athletic participation opportunities to our student-athletes," Childress said. "We remain hopeful that we will soon begin to see a decline in the instances of infection and that our schools will soon be able to return to more normal operation of their athletic competition."
Several counties in the Chattanooga area, including Hamilton County, had already announced earlier this month they were shutting down winter sports (basketball and wrestling) until the second week of January.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis