Health Department Relaxes Spectator Rules for Prep Sports

Number of home spectators increases, visiting fans are allowed

By Micah Drew
Flathead fans celebrate a touchdown in the first half. Helena Capital beat Flathead 24-10 during the first-round playoff game at Legends Stadium on Nov. 3, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) announced that effective Friday, Sept. 11, rules around spectating high school sporting events in the county would be relaxed.

Just in time for the start of Class AA football, home participants will now be allowed to have four spectators attend a game or activity. Two visiting fans per athlete will also be able to go to a game. Previously no visiting spectators were able to attend games or meets in Flathead County.

In order to track close contacts, should a positive case of COVID-19 be reported, visiting teams are required to provide a contact list of all attendees to events, as well as have a “game coordinator” who will meet with the host activities director.

Fans will be allowed into the sporting venues 30 minutes before an event, must wear masks and follow social distancing rules, and clear out immediately following any non-varsity events.

Under the revised rules, a home school’s band is allowed to play at homecoming events, and have four spectators in attendance.

Two other counties, Yellowstone and Lewis and Clark, revised spectator plans last week. Yellowstone County originally put out a plan that did not include any fans at any high school activities in the county, but that has been revised to two family members per home team participant. Lewis and Clark county health officials also reversed an initial decision that restricted fans from attending games.

Since schools reopened last month, six positive cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported among students and staff in the county, including a confirmed case at Glacier High School, and at least 88 close contacts are being monitored.

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