Capacity restrictions lifted from Iowa sporting events after nearly a year

Governor lifts spectator restrictions
Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 2:35 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -For the first time in nearly a year, there are no specific state guidelines for capacity at high school sporting events.

Fans still have to be socially-distanced, but a new order from Governor Kim Reynolds lifts the limit of two people per participant.

Before Thursday’s decision by Reynolds, only two spectators per athlete and cheerleader were allowed to attend high school sporting events.

With those restrictions lifted, schools are wondering what the guidelines are. Iowa High School Athletic Association Director Tom Keating says it’ll vary with each school district.

“What we’ve been telling them is you can go more restrictive than what the proclamation says, but you can’t go less restrictive,” said Tom Keating, Iowa High School Athletic Association Director. “Each venue is different as far as what they can accommodate, and then by sport it’s different. You can accommodate in a gym on a Saturday with four mats on your floor, running a wrestling is different than what you can do on Friday night when you’ve got a basketball game.”

Up in North Linn, the district was allowing household family members. For now, it’ll be household, plus four extras.

Down south in Iowa City, the district is still limiting just two spectators per athlete until its athletic council can meet.

“We noticed that most of the households when we did that, there was still some room and we could social distance,” said Mike Hilmer, North Linn Athletic Director. “We’re hoping tonight that adding some people could fill the gym, but we can still social distance to a degree. The hard part is you don’t know how many people are going to show up.”

“As a multiple school district, we really try to be consistent so that it doesn’t look like one school district is doing its own thing and the other two are in the dark,” said Craig Huegel, Iowa City West Athletic Director.

Fans will still be required to wear masks whether schools increase the capacity.

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