How districts in Oklahoma and Missouri are keeping fans safe on football night

CARTHAGE, Mo./MIAMI, Okla. – It’s game night in the four-states with Missouri and Oklahoma districts getting back on the field for the first time in months. We spoke with districts in each state to see what they’re doing to keep fans safe.

Friday night lights took on a slightly different appearance as teams hit the fields for the first time in months. But those proud teams, like the Miami Wardogs and the Carthage Tigers draw large crowds, so safety during this unique time is top priority.

Carthage doesn’t have any occupancy restrictions on their stands, but do require face masks for those coming in and out of the stadium, and when social distancing is not possible. Carthage Athletic Director Mark Holderbaum says “We do have a lot of standing room area in our stadium, so if there’s some folks that prefer to do that, they’re able to do that.”

Mark Holderbaum is the Carthage Athletic Director and he’s hopeful people will stick by the rules. “I think the majority of our fans are parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles of a lot of the participants and they know how important it is for their family members to be playing.”

Holderbaum says the other athletic directors in Missouri have all be working together to help develop the best plans to get back on the field. On the Oklahoma side, the Miami Wardogs have similar policies in place, no current attendance restrictions, and you must wear a mask when you can’t social distance. Miami Athletic Director Chad Davis says “We want them to practice social distancing you know, the six foot rule, and then when social distancing cannot take place we’re highly encouraging them to wear a mask or a face covering.”

Like Holderbaum, he’s hopeful fans will stick to the guidelines. “We want to be able to continue to play Friday night football games and that’s going to take all of us being very conscious of COVID and what we can do to help each other out to make sure our kids continue to be able to play.”

Carthage officials say that if fans can’t follow the proper guidelines, they’ll look at implementing attendance restrictions at all athletic events.