Fans 18 and older attending LSU football games this fall must complete a coronavirus screening before they can enter Tiger Stadium. The evaluations, done through the LSU sports mobile app, require answers to four questions from the CDC Facilities COVID-19 screening.
Access to the questionnaire will open at 12 a.m. every Saturday. LSU encouraged fans to answer the prompts before they leave their houses. Once complete, the screening page will either turn green (approved) or red (denied), and those with approval can enter Tiger Stadium for LSU’s season opener at 2:30 p.m. against Mississippi State.
The weekly COVID-19 screenings, announced Tuesday by LSU, is one of many changes to game day protocols this year. Football games will operate much differently because of the coronavirus pandemic, with 25% stadium capacity, no tailgating and less pregame fanfare, such as elimination of the “Tiger Walk” down Victory Hill.
Signs plastered around Tiger Stadium this year remind fans to “wash your hands” and “cover your coughs.” Stickers near concessions stands separate people by six feet. Video boards rotate graphics, including one that says “masks required.” LSU will have an organized staff dedicated to monitor masks and social distancing.
In order to decrease wait times, LSU encouraged fans to use the athletic department’s app for access to tickets, the CDC’s coronavirus screening page and game day alerts. The school asked fans to download mobile tickets and digital parking passes before the game.
This year, fans must wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times on campus and within Tiger Stadium. They can remove their face covering to eat or drink as long as they maintain physical distance. Clear shields can only be worn in combination with a face mask.
All parking lots, including free ones, require a permit. LSU will close unused lots on game day in order to limit the number of people on campus. Those with tickets will park in lots close to Tiger Stadium. Lots open four hours before kickoff. LSU will not use shuttles.
LSU prohibited tailgates, but fans can congregate in small groups near their vehicles. LSU also closed buildings and bathrooms on campus and limited the number of portable restrooms.
To allow for physical distancing, LSU extended fencing around Tiger Stadium. The temporary fences cover most of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and portions of North Stadium Dr. They include 12 additional gates, and fans can enter the larger stadium footprint through any gate this season. Only ticketed fans can enter the fence.
Tents with printed versions of the CDC questionnaire will be located around Tiger Stadium for those without a smartphone. Once arriving at the gates, ticketed fans must display their approved CDC screening to an attendant. Secruity members then check bags, which must be clear, before fans enter the stadium. People can bring a factory-sealed 32 oz. water bottle with them to the game.
“For fans who need to use elevators, they really need to get here pretty early,” senior associate athletic director Robert Munson said. “We're going to be limiting elevator access to one family group at a time, so that's going to lead to some lines to get into the elevators.”
Concessions stands will require cashless transactions. If a fan only has cash, he or she can use one of the cash-to-card machines located within the stadium before purchasing food and beverages.
Now that LSU will exclusively use mobile tickets for the 2020 season, the paper versions fade further into the past. They leave behind countless memories.
LSU won’t sell alcohol for at least the first game, but that decision may change later in the season. Concession stands this year offer a smaller menu with pre-packaged items and condiments to minimize contact.
In premium areas, fans cannot move between suites, and “grab-and-go” items have substituted menus. LSU removed all common area furniture and won’t show the game on televisions inside the suites. Staff will serve fans at buffets in the club areas.
With single-game tickets unavailable for purchase, the crowd will include season-ticket holders, students who completed a coronavirus test and ticket allocations for coaches and players. Visiting teams received 500 tickets.
LSU put stickers on unavailable seats in order to maintain physical distance. Fans will sit alone or in small groups, stretching the crowd from field level to the final row of the upper deck. Every group will sit 6 feet apart — vertically and horizontally — from someone else.
Stadium capacity could change throughout the season, depending on public health trends.
Advocate staff writer Brooks Kubena contributed to this report.