LSU drops Tiger Stadium COVID-19 entrance protocols ahead of this weekend’s game

LSU will lift its COVID-19 entrance protocols for football games in Tiger Stadium, beginning with this weekend’s Oct. 16 game against Florida.

Officials say the policy change is in response to the decline in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across the state and in the Baton Rouge area. Fans still will be asked to wear masks in the indoor areas of the stadium.

“The COVID-19 rates in Louisiana have dropped dramatically across the state over the last couple of weeks, and today the state has a positivity rate below 5 percent,” says Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital and a member of the Southeastern Conference’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. “Because of this success, we are able to lift the vaccine and testing requirements for entry into Tiger Stadium.”

Daily Report reached out to the Louisiana Department of Health to ask whether LDH was on board with LSU’s decision but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Entrants will no longer be asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon entrance to Tiger Stadium. Game day testing, fast pass pre-verification, and all other entrance-related procedures will no longer be in place.

Even when the protocols were in place, some football fans reported entering the stadium without anyone asking them for proof of vaccination or a negative test. LSU President William Tate promised stricter enforcement following the first home game in September.

Hospitalizations have decreased by 80% over the past seven weeks, LSU officials note. The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is less than 5%, well below the August peak that was near 16%.

LDH on Friday, Oct. 8, reported 787 new cases of COVID-19 statewide and 34 new deaths. East Baton Rouge Parish was at the highest level for community risk, according to a map posted on LDH’s website.

This story originally appeared in an Oct. 8 edition of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.