The majority of the game’s roughly 3,200 attendees were students who were eager to get back in the arena. They were able to watch the Tar Heels in person again due to Gov. Roy Cooper easing COVID-19 restrictions, with large indoor venues able to allow fans up to 15 percent capacity.
But other students were disappointed with the University’s decision to allow thousands to gather in an indoor arena.
“Just hearing that there's going to be thousands of people in one area just gives off the idea that the pandemic is easing up,” senior Marco L. Chumbimuni said. “And even with mass vaccination distribution, that's just not the case.”
Fans in the arena are required to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking, along with physically distancing in pods of no more than two. According to the Department of Athletics, the enforcement policy for mask-wearing includes an ejection after three failures to comply.
Other precautions include:
- Touchless entry through digital ticketing
- Disinfection of high-touch surfaces
- Forty hand sanitizers throughout the arena
- Complimentary protective equipment based on need or request, such as masks, gloves and face shields
- Text and hotline for fans to report concerns
First-year Case Redmond, who attended the game this past weekend, said he felt safe in the arena despite the number of fans.
“People weren't actively trying to break the rules,” Redmond said. “It felt like people were just happy that they could actually be there ... and so they followed all the guidelines, which is a good thing.”