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Gator football games could be at full capacity this fall

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 3:38 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida could be packing the Swamp this fall.

University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin anticipates having fans at full capacity for all fall sporting events this year - which means football games could host 88,548 of your closest friends for the upcoming 2021 season.

Stricklin made these comments during a virtual UF Eye Opener Discovery Breakfast with faculty and staff Wednesday.

Last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAA complied with Alachua County ordinances and limited capacity to 17,000 fans, at 20% capacity, to allow for social distancing.

Gator fan Reginald Kinsey thinks it would be great for fans to be back in the stadium.

“I think it would be awesome because it was pretty dull without being fully at full capacity. I think it would be pretty awesome,” explained Kinsey.

Florida Gators Athletic Director Scott Stricklin says he hopes to see Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 100% capacity next...

Posted by Dylan Lyons WCJB TV 20 News on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

However, he believes precautions may still need to be taken.

“I think if they are not vaccinated, maybe they should still wear a mask, so we can open it up to full capacity. Vaccinated people can be together,” said Kinsey.

During this meeting, the Florida AD notes he expects the majority of the county to be vaccinated by September. He also does not expect to require vaccinations or vaccine cards in order for fans to attend these games.

“We certainly are encouraging as many as people to get vaccinated,” tweeted Stricklin in response to a report about vaccine cards.

Stricklin and the UAA have worked closely with UF Health during the pandemic and will continue to do so moving forward.

“As we have said publicly several times over the last month, we are currently planning on playing in front of full capacity crowds in the fall of 2021, but will continue to follow the guidance of UF Health, campus leadership and the SEC Medical Task Force,” said Steve McClain the Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Florida.

RELATED STORY: Florida shifts physical distancing guidelines, increasing capacity at Gators baseball, softball games

According to the Orlando Sentinel, both school officials, along with SEC officials and Alachua County officials, would have to come to an agreement in order for these restrictions to ease.

The university has seen some restrictions ease this spring. Florida eased its social distancing restrictions from six feet to three feet at outdoor sporting events in March and expanded capacity for both baseball and softball games.

In the NFL, the Buffalo Bills have already announced their plan for full capacity, however, they will require proof of vaccination.

“Hopefully we’re able to get back to some normalcy in the fall when we hit the field again,” Mullen said on March 15. “I think all the Gator Nation is going to be excited. Everyone I see is like, ‘Boy, I hope we can pack the Swamp. I hope we get there, I hope to get it back to where we want it to be as the fans.’”

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