The North Carolina football team played its first game since the outbreak of COVID-19, but it wasn’t a typical game day.
There were no fans there to cheer the team on. The only people in attendance were some family members of each of the 12 seniors and graduate players, along with a small section of cutout photos. The rest of the stadium was filled with empty Carolina Blue seats.
Right now, Roy Cooper's phased reopening limits outdoor gatherings to 50 people, but Orange County's rules are stricter, keeping outdoor events to just 25 people.
Penny Rich, chairperson of the Board of County Commissioners, previously said the lower limit was kept because of the high COVID-19 positivity rate in the county, which was 10.1 percent at the start of the month.
"We know this is disappointing to you – our fans, donors and supporters -- and our venues will not be the same without you there," Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a statement on Aug. 28 when the decision was announced. "This decision, however, was the only way we could move forward with competition. Our student-athletes want to play, and we must do so as safely as possible. We made this decision in consultation with medical experts, our University, and state and local officials."