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Fans watch from the bleachers along the first base line as LSU hosts Youngstown State, Friday, February 26, 2021, at Alex Box Stadium on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

LSU will move toward 50% capacity at Alex Box Stadium and its other outdoor athletic venues after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced updated coronavirus restrictions that permits increased capacity, according to a statement from the school.

Edwards said Tuesday afternoon he will institute coronavirus rules that bring the state into Phase 3 of the reopening plan, allowing stadiums to hold 50% attendance. Athletic venues had been capped at 25% capacity.

“LSU Athletics has been coordinating with the Governor’s office regarding a plan to expand capacity for outdoor spring sports to 50 percent,” the school said in a statement. “When the Fire Marshal approves those plans, we will announce them to the public.

“We are excited about the opportunity to welcome more fans to our outdoor venues. We will also undertake the task responsibly and in accordance with the SEC’s health and safety protocols, which will include mandatory and strictly-enforced mask wearing. We will be as safe as we possibly can as we work to support our student-athletes as much as we can.”

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LSU will not increase capacity from 25% for indoor sports, such as basketball and gymnastics.

Though the new state rules take effect Wednesday, LSU will not immediately increase Alex Box Stadium to 50% capacity. It plans to accommodate more fans in the coming weeks after gauging the interest of season-ticket holders and rearranging seats to maintain physical distance between groups, pending approval from the Fire Marshal.

Edwards said LSU can continue to sell alcohol under the new coronavirus rules as long as fans consume drinks in their seats and wear a mask when they’re not eating or drinking. 

“I believe the cap on sporting events is going to be 50%, period,” Edwards said. “It's 50% masked, distanced and again, they can consume, eat and drink food without their mask on, but they need to put their mask back on.”

Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com