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Texas Athletics will require masks, social distancing and more at home games

Fans attending Texas Longhorns home games this season must wear masks, maintain distance between groups and use only mobile tickets, according to safety plans for the upcoming football season, released Monday by the University of Texas Athletics department.


Fans will be required to wear masks the entire time they're at the game, the guidelines said. They also must regularly wash their hands and use hand sanitizer, and are only allowed to use the entry gate assigned on their mobile tickets.

UT officials have said they are planning a 25 percent capacity limit at the Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium this fall.

The safety plans also describe additional measures beyond rules for fans, including 225 hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the stadium and regular sanitation of high-touch areas such as fountains and charging stations.

"Our priority is to create the safest game-day environment for our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, fans, staff and visiting teams," said Chris Del Conte, vice president and director of Texas Athletics, adding that the new guidelines "accomplish our priorities within State of Texas guidelines and in conjunction with medical officials."

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Two days shy of the one-year anniversary of Texas' first confirmed case of COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he will rescind statewide pandemic restrictions, including business capacity limits and mask mandates, next week. Although businesses—especially those tied to the hospitality industry—have suffered financially over the last year, many Austin establishments are rejecting Abbott's order.

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(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.

Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.

A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.

Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."

She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."

That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."

Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.

Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.

Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.

Two hours after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that state mandates on wearing masks and limiting business capacities would be lifted, Mayor Steve Adler wrote a letter to the city urging residents to keep their masks on and stay safe.

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