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Longhorns plan for 100% stadium capacity in 2021 season

There is nearly nothing Texas loves more than its Saturday game days, and according to Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, Longhorn fans can plan to pack the stands again in 2021—pending herd immunity.

As the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 rolls around, a hopeful fan reached out to Del Conte on Twitter this week and asked if the University of Texas is planning for full stadium capacity when the season starts, "assuming the majority of the country is vaccinated."

Del Conte responded with an optimistic "That's our plan," flashing a hook 'em emoji.

Texas plans to open the season on Sept. 4 against Louisiana—a start date that is still more than 190 days away. During the 2020 season, stadium capacity was limited to 25%—or about 25,000 attendees. Other sports were limited as well.

With medical professionals projecting that the U.S. will return to some degree of normalcy this year—Dr. Marty Markay predicting normalcy by April and Dr. Anthony Fauci predicting a much later timeline of the end of 2021—Texas Football celebrations might be in the future.

However, Austin Public Health has previously said relaxing COVID safety measures—such as capacity restrictions at events—the county would need to establish herd immunity—which occurs when 70% to 75% of the population is immune to the disease. Currently, only 11% of the age 16 and older Travis County population is vaccinated with at least one dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday; the availability of a third vaccine could speed up the process of achieving herd immunity. And COVID cases continue to decline.

All in all, UT started collecting deposits for season tickets three weeks ago, inviting fans to become part of the #AllGasNoBrakes era of Texas Football led by new Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, saying the athletic department plans to return to normal on its website.

"Texas Athletics is currently planning for attendance at 2021 home games to be at 100% seating capacity. We will continue to monitor local COVID-19 health and safety conditions in coordination with NCAA, Big 12, University, state, and local medical partners," the website reads.

Texas is starting the spring season a little later than normal this year, planning to start the first practice on March 23 and first game pending on April 24. In his weekly newsletter, Del Conte encouraged fans to come out for the first game, saying "you'll definitely want to plan to be in Austin for that one."


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