MEMPHIS, Tenn. – – Wednesday night, FedExForum held its first sporting event since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It was a University of Memphis Tigers basketball game against Arkansas State. Occupancy was capped at 20 percent capacity and fans who attended had to follow a set of health rules.
“It is what it is and you gotta abide by them or you don’t get in,” one fan said.
“I got a nephew playing for Arkansas State,” another fan said, “If I wanna go watch him I gotta put up with it. It’s better than sitting at home and not being able to see him play.”
Fans were required to wear masks unless eating or drinking at their seats and groups were told to stay six feet apart at all times. No groups of more than six were allowed. All concessions were boxed or packaged and 300 hand sanitizing dispensers were placed throughout the building.
Most fans appeared to follow the rules with steadfast resolve. However, Shelby County health officials are cautiously optimistic. Health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph stresses the importance of wearing masks at events like an indoor basketball game.
“We’re enclosed now. We’re not outside and so we really want to limit the amount of potential transmission that can occur,” Dr. Randolph said, “Wear your mask so we can do more of this ( go to games).”
Courtside seating was not allowed at the game for the health and safety of players and coaches.