Pasco County revises guidelines to allow fans at sporting events

Less than two weeks after restricting fans from attending high school sporting events and fine arts performances, Pasco County changed course and will now allow spectators on a limited basis starting Tuesday. 

The school district revised its guidelines after consulting with health officials. No more than two fans can attend for each participating student at an extracurricular event. Social distancing will be enforced and masks must be worn at all times at indoor events and can only be removed when seated at outdoor events.

On Nov. 20, the county issued safety guidelines that limited all athletic activities to students and coaches due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases.  

That rule was supposed to last until the positivity rate, which had climbed to nine percent, dropped to below five percent for a rolling seven-day period. 

Last month, two county football teams — Wiregrass Ranch and Fivay — had to forfeit playoff games because of a player testing positive for coronavirus and multiple team members and coaches having to quarantine due to contact tracing. A few basketball programs also had to cancel preseason tournaments or season-opening games because of players quarantining. 

But the safety measures also forced a home playoff game to be moved, irking some fans. 

Last week, Zephyrhills was supposed to host Orlando Jones in the Class 5A region semifinals. Because fans from either team were not allowed to attend, the Florida High School Athletic Association decided to move the game to Jones to accommodate spectators.