MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University football team’s home opener on Saturday will see a return to normal operations after fan activities and festivities were canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mountaineers (0-1) will host Long Island at Milan Puskar Stadium with the game scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. The athletic department previously announced normal operations — including pregame tailgating and other game-day activities — will resume.
The return to normal operations comes as West Virginia’s coronavirus numbers continue to increase; state health officials noted during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing that West Virginia’s coronavirus will likely not peak for another two weeks.
“This decision was not made in a vacuum,” said Matt Wells, WVU’s executive senior associate athletics director for external affairs.
Wells said on Wednesday’s “MetroNews Talkline” the athletic department has often spoken to WVU Medicine and Monongalia County health officials about the best practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The university is encouraging all people to wear a face mask in crowded indoor areas regardless of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated people should also wear a mask outdoors. Fans experiencing coronavirus symptoms should not attend the fame and instead contact health officials.
“We feel it is best for us to communicate those recommendations and let people know what the CDC and the Mon County Health Department have set as the guidelines, and then they will hopefully take that information and make the best decision possible for themselves and for others,” he said.
Parking lots will open at 7 a.m. on Saturday. The Hall of Traditions at the stadium will open to the public three hours before game time and close at kickoff. The Chick-fil-A Kids Zone at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility will open starting 2 1/2 hours before kickoff, and the Mountaineer Maintrip will happen around 2 1/4 hours before game time.