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More fans allowed at Michigan high school sporting events this week

Marching bands are back as spectator capacity increases to 30% or up to 1,000 people
HS Football - New Lothrop at Montrose
HS Football - New Lothrop at Montrose
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 12:27 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Halftime shows at high school football games could be making a return this Friday.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association voted Tuesday to increase the capacity of spectators for all sporting events. That allows for marching bands to take the field again, among other changes.

The Frankenmuth High School varsity football team opened up its 2020 season with three straight road games. This week against Alma, they will get to play in their newly renovated stadium for the first time and hear the roar of the fans -- all 615 of them.

“It’s a unique situation for everybody and different stadium hold different capacities," said Frankenmuth High School Athletic Director Kevin Schwelder. "At first, I think people thought, ‘Oh 1,000 people can come to the games.’ But, there’s different scenarios.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association released updated guidelines to allow more fans at sports events effective immediately based on increased capacity restrictions issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

For outdoor games like football and soccer, schools can have 30% seating capacity or up to 1,000 fans.

“And what kind of hides in the numbers is you have to be fair to the visitors," Schwelder said. "Where typically we would open it up. What the Tri-Valley (Conference) ruled is that the home team can add participants but the visiting will stick with their two tickets per player.”

The new guidelines will also allow the halftime shows to take the field for the first time this season.

“So the band will be back," said Caro High School Athletic Director Connor Thomas. "It’s going to be great for our student athletes and get them back to as normal as possible, and now we’re going to be able to open it up to our students and give them that extra energy.”

Other sports that take place indoors, such as volleyball and swimming/diving, spectator capacity is increasing 500 people or 20% capacity -- whichever is less.

Coronavirus measures remain in place for players spectators at all sporting events. Those include requirements to wear a mask or face covering and remain 6 feet away from people who don’t live in their house.

“It is challenging. But at the end of the day we’re here to watch our students athletes compete and everyone seems to be OK with that,” Thomas said.

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