MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - High school football season has officially kicked off, and fans are really showing their excitement.
But officials think maybe they were too excited and didn’t heed the state’s pandemic guidelines.
Fans filled the bleachers Thursday night. Many at some of the games were packed together rather than social distancing. And many were not wearing masks.
State Superintendent Eric Mackey acknowledged that fans may have been a little too excited for the season’s start but hopes they will follow the guidelines from now on.
“Once you start bringing in the public, people are excited. They’re glad to be back to something that’s like normal. And we did see some cases last night where people were not following the public health order,” Mackey said.
He said principals, coaches and players have been following the health rules all summer. He is asking fans to do the same.
“Yes, get out and enjoy the game. But also be sure and adhere to those rules,” he said. “I think that even though that initial excitement maybe got people a little bit out of touch with the rules, that people have been so good, and we think that they will start thinking about, hey, we got to make sure we finish the football season, so we need to make sure we try to keep our distance. We keep these on and do what we can to keep football going.”
Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese echoed those thoughts.
“Everyone had an opportunity to kind of escape from the reality of the real world and enjoy sports again and while we began, we had some challenges that occurred, but the excitement was tremendous and we had a great starting point and we’re going to continue to work and improve on that,” Savarese said.
He said this was a “starting point” and allows them a baseline to work with schols to encourage fans to follow state health guidelines.
“I’m sure they’ll do a better job next week,” he said.