UT-Austin says it will require only student ticket holders to test negative for COVID-19 before Saturday’s football game
By Stacy Fernandez
Officials at the University of Texas at Austin said Wednesday night that students with football season tickets will be required to take a COVID-19 test on Friday and test negative before they can attend Saturday's season opener against the University of Texas at El Paso.
But the same precautions won't be required of thousands of other fans in the stands thus Saturday. There is no testing requirement for fans who aren't UT-Austin students, nor is there a requirement for visitors from El Paso. And not all UT-Austin students are required to be tested — only those who buy "The Big Ticket" season package are subject to the tests, but students who purchase individual game tickets are exempt, said J.B. Bird, a UT-Austin spokesperson.
The mandatory pre-game tests will be provided by the university for free. Students will have from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get tested on campus Friday, according to the university athletics website.
University officials did not immediately respond to questions about why testing only applied to students.
Students, however, were not required to test negative before returning to campus or attending in-person classes.
The Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium where the game will be held holds a little over 100,000 people, but capacity for the game will be limited to about 25,000 fans. Meanwhile, outdoor gatherings in Austin are still limited to 10 people or less. Gov. Greg Abbott, however, allowed Texas sports to resume with limited fans in the stands.
Austin officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about the public health effects of hosting such a large gathering at this time."Our gathering limit is 10, and having 25,000 people in one space is a concern," Mark Escott, Austin Public Health's interim health authority, said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Game attendees must wear masks, there will be marking for social distance and tailgates will not be allowed. The university also added 225 hand sanitizer stations throughout the stadium.
Wednesday, the university reported three coronavirus clusters in a university dorm with about 100 positive cases collectively.
Earlier this week, Baylor University and Louisiana Tech University postponed their opening game due to a spike in coronavirus cases following Hurricane Laura, according to a university statement. Texas Christian University also postponed its season opener against Southern Methodist University. Both games were scheduled for Saturday.
The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
More on UT:
Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.
There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.
All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.
🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway