LSU football fans must show proof of vaccination

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2021

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana State University announced Tuesday that it will require fans to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at its football home games this season.

The policy applies to all fans over the age of 12, and will go into effect beginning with LSU’s home opener Sept. 11 against McNeese State. LSU’s season opener is Sept. 4 at UCLA.

In a release, the university said the decision was made after consultation with, and support from, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, LSU President William F. Tate IV, LSU’s Board of Supervisors, the Tiger Athletic Foundation, and Director of Athletics Scott Woodward.

“As the flagship institution of the state of Louisiana, our foremost responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students, our supporters, and our community,” Tate said in a statement. “While we are aware of the diverse perspectives across the nation regarding masks and vaccinations, we must take all reasonable measures to protect our campus and community, not only on gamedays, but long after guests have left Tiger Stadium. The current threat to our lives, our health, and to our medical systems due to COVID-19 is overburdening our hospitals, and we must do our part to stop the spread.”

To gain entry into Tiger Stadium, fans must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that has received full approval or emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization — either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

A vaccination card, a photo or photocopy of a vaccination card, or verified digital proof of vaccination, including LA Wallet or another government-sanctioned mobile app, will be accepted, with entry granted upon visual inspection.

Those who have not yet received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine must present digital or hard copy proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of kickoff prior to entering the stadium. Guests younger than 12 will not need to present a negative test. Masks will be encouraged for children younger than 5 and required for children ages 5 to 11.

“We have the best fans in college football, and we are doing everything we can to ensure their experience in Tiger Stadium this fall is safe and enjoyable,” Woodward said in a statement. “When our fans arrive on Saturdays to cheer on the Tigers, they will have confidence that we have taken measures to mitigate their health risks. Our football team has reached 99.1 percent vaccination, and we are incredibly proud of them for doing their part to protect their team and their community. We are confident our fans will do the same, and I encourage all Tiger fans to receive vaccinations today.”

The university did not immediately specify if the requirements would extend to tailgating activities outside the stadium, but did say it would provide updates on gameday procedures beginning Friday.

LSU students will be required to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination or paperwork to formally opt out of getting the shot by Oct. 15, or else be subjected to regular COVID tests.

Students would need to receive the first of two vaccination shots by Sept. 10 to meet the October deadline.
LSU is the first Southeastern Conference school to require fans to show proof of vaccination, although the NFL’s New Orleans Saints are also requiring it in accordance with its city’s current COVID-19 regulations.

The Saints’ policy, which is similar to LSU’s, began with Monday’s preseason game against Jacksonville. The Saints will play another home preseason game Friday against the Arizona Cardinals, and their home and regular season opener is Sept. 12 vs. the Green Bay Packers.

The decisions by LSU and the Saints have come amidst a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Louisiana. More than 3,200 new cases were confirmed in the state on Tuesday, and 933 COVID-related deaths have been reported statewide in August.

East Baton Rouge Parish, where LSU is located, had 203 new cases reported on Tuesday, and Orleans Parish where New Orleans is had 194.