LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has — slightly — increased its limits on attendance at indoor sporting events across the state.
Indoor stadiums and arenas can seat 375 patrons if they have a seating capacity under 10,000, 125 more than the 250 patron limit in the Feb. 4 public order issued to limit the spread of COVID-19. For indoor stadiums with a capacity of over 10,000, the venue can seat 750, which was previously 500 in the February order. No more than 300 may be gathered within any “distinct space within the venue,” up from 100 in the previous order.
If the event is being held outdoors, a new section was added to the order. Under the March 2 order, up to 1,000 can gather at an outdoor recreation facility, an increase from the blanket 500 person cap from the February order. The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s spring sports season is set to begin as early as March 26.
The sections on sporting venues were just another line on Tuesday’s public health order signed by MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. The state increased capacity limits for just about every industry the orders have had jurisdiction on. Most notably: the capacity limits on restaurants and retail went up from 25 percent capacity to 50 percent. Many schools have implemented their own ticketing policies separate from orders established by MDHHS. The state health department had suggested a policy of two tickets per student athlete.
The MHSAA had not yet issued guidance on the Tuesday MDHHS order — though it typically has done so the day following its issuance.
The MHSAA did however release updates regarding the wrestling state finals for the 2021 season. District and regional competition will remain the same as previous years but a number of changes have happened to the finals in order to limit exposure to COVID-19.
For the team wrestling finals, the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will all be wrestled in the same day instead of the traditional two. The finals will be hosted at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo and will have separate areas for teams to compete throughout the day on March 30.
The individual meet has also been changed to one day. Divisions 2 and 3 will wrestle all their matches on April 2 and Divisions 1 and 4 will wrestle April 3 at Wings Event Center.
The MHSAA said wrestling finals will be limited to one spectator per wrestler.