Michigan increases outdoor stadium capacity, requires COVID testing for youth sports

Outdoor stadiums, arenas can fill to 20% capacity

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that the state will allow increased capacity in outdoor stadiums and require COVID-19 testing for young athletes participating in sports.

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that the state will allow increased capacity in outdoor stadiums and require COVID-19 testing for young athletes participating in sports.

Stadium capacity

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has updated its COVID-19 order to allow up to 20% capacity at outdoor stadiums and arenas with infection control plans. They must also have fixed seating.

The new rules go into effect Monday and last until April 19.

“The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but by staying focused on acting quickly, following the science, and listening to experts, we can save lives and help our economy recover faster,” Whitmer said. “Today’s action is an important step towards normalcy, but there’s still more work to do.”

Outdoor stadiums can fill up to 20% as long as they follow these protocols:

  • Establishes an infection control plan that complies with the protocols included in MDHHS’s document entitled Enhanced Outdoor Stadium and Arena Guidance.
  • Posts the mitigation plan publicly.
  • Sends infection control plans to the local health department and MDHHS at least seven days before scheduled events.
  • Administers a testing program as specified in MDHHS’s Guidance for Athletics for all players.

“We truly appreciate the ongoing partnership with the Governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services,” said Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings. “We are thrilled to safely welcome back the best fans in baseball to Comerica Park for Opening Day and beyond. As the season progresses, we look forward to continued coordination with public health and medical experts, government officials and Major League Baseball to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all Detroit Tigers fans.”

Youth athlete testing

The state announced increased testing for youth ages 13-19 to make sure they can safely participate in sports. More information on the program is available on the Michigan.gov/Coronavirus website.

This is in response to an increased number of COVID-19 outbreaks associated with youth sports, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, of MDHHS, said.

“Michigan’s students deserve to safely enjoy the fullest high school experience we can offer,” said JoLynn Clark, principal of Frankenmuth High School. “That means finding ways to provide in-person instruction along with extracurricular activities, a fundamental part of a student’s life. This past fall, educators witnessed firsthand the detrimental impacts to both instruction and student well-being that comes when we cannot find ways to safely do both.”

The new testing rules also go into effect Monday and last until April 19.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.