COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– It’s the first Football Friday Nite of the season, and while players and coaches will be focused on beating the other team, health leaders are warning fans about our joint opponent, COVID-19.
“Obviously our athletes, whether they’re playing football or some other sport, can’t be wearing a mask while they’re physically playing, but others can,” said Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “I would strongly encourage people to get vaccinated and to mask up while they’re outdoor and in crowds.”
The first week of high school football comes just one day after the state reported more than 3,700 cases of COVID-19, the most we’ve seen in months. Last fall, only parents of players could attend football games. There were no small children, grandparents, or even student sections.
Dr. Roberts says that the younger, unvaccinated population is becoming more susceptible to the delta variant and more children are getting sick, and even though these games are outdoors, she recommends taking precautions whether vaccinated or not.
“If you’re in with a large crowd, even though you are outdoors, we would recommend that you wear a mask. Obviously, the first thing we’d recommend is that individuals get vaccinated. And we still have our vax-for-cash program, so anyone living in franklin county would be eligible for that. But really putting on that mask when you’re in a crowded setting outdoors, and then anytime you’re indoors,” she added.
Though athletes aren’t required to wear masks while they’re playing, they will still have to wear them on busses and while they’re being transported to and from the stadiums with a federal mask mandate for public transportation still in effect.