AURORA | The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment acquiesced to the request of the Colorado High School Activities Association to allow a limited number of spectators into the seven state championship games in Pueblo.
An original variance was to allow a maximum of 1,400 fans into the seven games (6-man, 8-man, 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A) scheduled to be played Thursday through Saturday at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the campus of Colorado State-Pueblo, but the CDPHE later prohibited all fans due to surging COVID-19 numbers.
On Tuesday, CDHPE “modified its position on spectators” to allow for 75 fans per team to match the limit for an outdoor event in Colorado in the latest Public Health Order.
In a statement, CHSAA said it petitioned CDPHE to reconsider and it came back with the change.
“Our qualifying teams, school communities and staff were anxious about receiving a favorable decision,” CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in a statement. “We submitted our reconsideration request on Friday and have spent numerous days asking our stakeholders and media partners to be patient. We are a small piece of the puzzle within the many decisions being made by state officials in these challenging times.
“We celebrate each incremental decision, even those delayed, as we continue to intentionally advocate for CHSAA schools and school communities in resuming safe and equitable participation during the disruptive impact of COVID-19.”
The 75 fans must wear masks without exception, enter and exit through different egresses, must use different restroom facilities and must maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from those in other households.
The championship matchups begin Thursday with No. 1 Fleming vs. No. 2 Stratton/Liberty in 6-man at 2 p.m., followed by the 8-man title game between No. 1 Sedgewick County and No. 2 Sanford.
The Friday slate is made up of the 2 p.m. 2A title game between No. 5 Eaton and No. 7 Lamar, followed by the 4A championship game between No. 2 Palmer Ridge and No. 4 Loveland at 6 p.m.
A Saturday tripleheader pits No. 1 Limon against No. 2 Strasburg at 10 a.m. in the 1A final, followed by No. 1 Roosevelt vs. No. 3 Durango at 2 p.m. in the 3A title game and the day concludes with the 5A final between No. 1 Cherry Creek and No. 2 Valor Christian at 6 p.m.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports