Gators announce safety protocols, attendance plans for 2020

A general view during the game between the Florida Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) (Sam Greenwood, 2019 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gators football will look quite a bit different this season.

No tailgating. No Gator Walk. And not a lot of fans, either.

Florida announced a handful of changes for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including only 20% capacity at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium ahead of its home opener against South Carolina on Oct. 3. The Gators open their season on the road at Ole Miss on Sept. 26. Their full schedule is here.

The capacity limit will take the Swamp from 88,548 to right at 17,000, the school said on Thursday.

“As we have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked hand in hand with UF Health, the SEC and its Medical Guidance Task Force, and campus officials to create the safest environment possible for the student-athletes, staff and fans,” athletic director Scott Stricklin said.

Face coverings will be required throughout the game. The only time that fans are permitted to remove them is when they are eating and drinking.

Also changing in 2020:

  • No Gator Walk events.
  • The Gator Walk Village won’t be set up this year.
  • No Gators Fan Fest.
  • No spirit teams on the sidelines.
  • Mobile ticketing required.
  • No public tailgating and gathering.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.