Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has indicated that the state’s entrance into Phase 3 of its reopening during the pandemic that lessens restrictions includes stadiums.
The news came after radio personality Andy Slater reported that the Miami Dolphins had received the go-ahead from the state and governor to expand to full capacity — though the Dolphins have indicated that they’ll proceed with the same capacity limit (13,000 fans) will remain in place until at least October 25.
Currently, Florida State Seminoles football as well as Florida Gators football, UCF Knights, FAU Owls and Miami-Florida Hurricanes all allow fans to some degree, while the USF Bulls will be admitting fans for the first time this season this weekend. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins have also been allowing fans.
DeSantis’ spokesperson follows up with me wanting to make it clear that after the governor recently dropped COVID-19 restrictions, all Florida stadiums were able to go to full capacity.— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) October 7, 2020
From DeSantis’ communication director, who says that state clearance wasn’t given, but because it necessarily wasn’t needed:
Just to be clear. Sports franchises, like most businesses under phase 3 can do as they see medically and safety wise in their best interests. There is no state clearance or anything of the sort.— Fred Piccolo Jr (@FredPiccoloJr) October 7, 2020
It echoes what DeSantis said last week when discussing the possibility of more fans at Buccaneers’ games (Tampa hosted fans for the first time last week.)
“[The teams aren’t] really impacted, cause I’ve supported [more fans]. It’s not really the government but what the leagues have been comfortable with. I very much support the Bucs having fans...so they can operate.”
After Florida State’s home opener against Georgia Tech, there was some backlash over some fans televised not distancing or wearing masks — in response, FSU President John Thrasher (who recently contracted COVID-19 alongside his wife) issued new regulations for both students and gameday.
There’s been no indication of changes in policy from any of Florida’s universities so far on the clarification from the state on capacity, but the likelihood of immediate changes in Tallahassee aren’t likely.