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UNC to allow limited number of fans to attend football games in October

<p>Kenan Memorial Stadium sits empty on Sept. 9, 2020 ahead of UNC football's first game of the 2020 season which will be played without a crowd. The UNC Athletics Department is offering fans a virtual spot in the stands of Kenan Memorial Stadium this season in an attempt to keep them engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p>
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Kenan Memorial Stadium sits empty on Sept. 9, 2020 ahead of UNC football's first game of the 2020 season which will be played without a crowd. The UNC Athletics Department is offering fans a virtual spot in the stands of Kenan Memorial Stadium this season in an attempt to keep them engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A limited number of spectators will be allowed to attend football games in Kenan Memorial Stadium beginning in October, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

The decision from UNC comes in the wake of a Tuesday announcement from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who said venues with seatings capacities of over 10,000 people would be able to reopen at 7 percent capacity, starting Oct. 2. 

“We share this news today so those outdoor venues with seating capacity of more than 10,000 can begin preparations that are key to safely re-opening their doors to have a limited amount of socially distanced fans,” Cooper said in a press conference. 

Now, just under 3,600 fans will be allowed to watch the Tar Heels take on Virginia Tech on Oct. 10 — nearly a year since their last full-capacity home game.

“We are thrilled that we will be able to start welcoming spectators back to Kenan Stadium in October, and we are hopeful that the number of people allowed in our stadiums will safely increase as Fall progresses,” UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. 

Cunningham said in the statement that the athletic department is "particularly excited" to have parents and students, who were not able to attend the opening game, back in the stands. 

"We are working with health experts and our University on plans for seating, with the health of our student-athletes, coaches and stuff, and community our top priority,” he said in the statement.

UNC had previously announced on Aug. 28 that fans would not be allowed in Kenan Stadium until at least October, meaning that the home opener for UNC football against Syracuse on Sept. 12 went unattended. 

"This decision ... was the only way we could move forward with competition," Cunningham said in a statement in August, referring to the move to have no fan attendance. "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.



@pjdaman12

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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