MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force says encouraging the public to wear masks and closing of bars may be behind a recent downward trend in new COVID-19 cases.
Thursday, the task force outlined how sport events might look in the fall, including football games
In recent years, Tigers players and fans have become used to a roaring Liberty Bowl crowd and lots of victories.
In the daily Shelby County COVID-19 task force briefing Thursday, Dr. Bruce Randolph said all local collegiate and professional sports teams will follow guidelines set by their associations about returning to play.
The Shelby County Health Department is limiting the number of people allowed in the Liberty Bowl to 4,500 fans -- all seated 12 feet apart, with face masks required at all times when not eating and drinking.
The 901 FC soccer club has already successfully returned to matches with fans under these rules, according to the task force.
Dr. Randolph says the 12-feet separation rule is the right compromise.
“The reason for that is because several studies have shown that when people yell, when they cheer, speak loud or sing that they actually project respiratory saliva or secretions and potentially, the virus, further than six feet. That six feet separation is not enough,” said Randolph.
Governor Bill Lee issued an executive order which allows for each high school to individually permit the return of contact sport activities such as football.
Each high school must follow the guidelines set in the TSSAA.
The Memphis Tigers are still scheduled to play their first game, a home game, on Sept. 5 against Arkansas State.