Football Saturdays at Malone Stadium will look different this fall due to the latest COVID-19 restrictions.
On Tuesday, Louisiana-Monroe announced game-day guidelines for the 2020 season that include a 25-percent cap on attendance and no on-campus tailgating and RV parking. The guidelines, which came from inside the athletic department and the University of Louisiana System, adhere to the Phase 3 restrictions from Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office.
ULM athletic director Scott McDonald anticipates what he called a “COVID-19 sellout” for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. kickoff against Texas State on ESPNU.
“I think we will be able to sell all the tickets that we’re allowed to sell,” McDonald told the News-Star. “It’s a nationally televised game and certainly the community will get a lot of great exposure and we anticipate more games coming up where we’ll get the same opportunity.”
Around 7,606 fans will be allowed in the stadium. The venue’s capacity is 30,427. ULM averaged a reported 16,728 in home attendance last season, drawing its largest crowd of 28,327 for the opener against Grambling State.
McDonald said all ULM season ticket holders, who received first priority, will have a seat in the stadium on Saturday. The remaining tickets will be available to purchase prior to kickoff.
“We were able to accommodate all those folks,” McDonald said. “Obviously, we will have some reduced seating in our end-zone seating and in our sky box that we’ve already communicated.
“It’ll be a little bit different, but we’re pleased to allow some of our fans to attend our games.”
General admission game-day activities outside the stadium, including the “Hawk Walk” through the Pecan Grove, are canceled for this season. Fans will not be allowed on the field for the “Fifth Quarter” following games.
Alcohol sales are prohibited inside Malone Stadium.
ULM is allowing fans to park in the Pecan Grove and hold private gatherings that follow CDC guidelines.
“If you and I are living in the same household or we’re neighbors and feel comfortable, and if we stopped at a restaurant and picked up food, we can sit there and eat it,” McDonald said.
“We aren’t going to allow all the cooking and things that go along with tailgating.”
Face masks must be worn while entering the stadium and social distancing is required in all common areas, like concession stands and rest rooms.
The Malone Stadium ticket office will be closed on game days. Will call has been relocated to the Fant-Ewing Coliseum box office, which opens at 8 a.m. on game days. Satellite ticket booths at Malone Stadium will open 3.5 hours prior to kickoff.
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2020 UL System Football Season Guidelines
• Stadiums will operate at 25-percent capacity and allow for physical distancing. Band and spirit groups will be present in the stands at all home games.
• Parking lot entry times will be adjusted to avoid public gatherings outside the stadium and allow for physical distancing when entering the stadium.
• Tailgating and RV parking will not be permitted in campus lots.
• General admission game-day activities outside of the stadium are canceled for the 2020 season.
• Pregame activities will be limited to private gatherings adhering to state limitations of capacity with controlled access and proper physical distancing.
• Team walks will not occur in order to promote physical distancing and to protect the game-day bubble around the team.
• Face masks are required to be worn while entering the stadium and in all common areas, such as rest rooms, concourses, and aisles.
• Hand sanitation stations will be setup on the concourses and throughout the stadium.
• All game-day workers, vendors, and event staff will wear face masks at all times and will be checked and screened prior to the entrance into the stadium.
• Suites and premium areas will operate at a capacity not to exceed 50 percent (unless state policy changes during the season). Suite holders will not be allowed to move between suites and floors on game day.
• Concessions, merchandise stands, and catering protocols will be modified according to public health recommendations. Alcohol sales are prohibited.
• All concessions and merchandise stands will feature credit card readers as fans are highly encouraged to go cashless on game day.
• Concessions will have prepackaged food and drink items. Condiments will be prepackaged. Physical distancing will be used at points of sale.
• Proper queuing and physical distancing will be required in all common areas, such as concession stands and restrooms. Physical distancing markers will be located in these areas to assist fans in achieving proper spacing. All restrooms will feature one-way entrances and one-way exits in order to provide proper spacing while in line as well as while in the restroom facilities.
• At the conclusion of the game, staff will coordinate a physical distance egress for fans.
• Communication will be sent to fans prior to games to inform of COVID-19 guidelines to help ensure safe attendance.
ULM Football Saturdays
• Parking lots open 4 hours prior to kickoff.
• The Fant-Ewing Coliseum Box Office opens at 8 a.m. on game day. The Malone Stadium Ticket Office will remain closed on game days. This season, will call also has relocated to the Fant-Ewing Coliseum Box Office.
• Player guest ticket locations: ULM – northwest ticket booth at Malone Stadium; visiting team – east ticket booth.
• The satellite ticket booths at Malone Stadium open 3 1/2 hours before kickoff.
• Stadium gates open 3 hours prior to kickoff.
• To help manage the limited capacity, ULM students will be encouraged to pick up tickets in advance of game day by presenting their student ID at the Fant-Ewing Coliseum Box Office.
• No pregame “Warhawk Walk” through the Pecan Grove.
• No “Fifth Quarter” postgame access to the field.