Can I go to a football game?

It’s football season, and other outdoor sports are also in season. You might want to go to the game to support your favorite team. Unfortunately, it’s still safest to enjoy games from home this year. Being outside is safer than being inside. But even outdoors, COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person when people cough, cheer, or just talk. 

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to attend an outdoor sporting event:  

    • The number of people. The more people at the event, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. 
    • The level of COVID-19 in the community. The higher the level of COVID-19 in a community, the higher your risk of catching it. 
    • Whether the event has rules on social distancing and mask wearing. It’s helpful if the sports venue has a clear policy that is enforced.  It’s also good if the venue has blocked off rows, messaging, or signs to help fans remember to spread out.
    • Whether you or a family member have a health condition that increases your risk. You can bring COVID home, so it is better to skip it even if the person with the health condition isn’t coming.
  • Definitely stay home if you are sick, have been exposed to COVID-19, or are waiting for COVID test results.

Here are some tips to reduce your risk if you do decide to attend a game:

  • Keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and other groups when you choose your seats. If you can, bring your own seating so you can spread out and don’t have to sit in crowded bleachers.
  • Consider arriving and leaving earlier or later. This can help to avoid crowds at entrances and exits or in parking lots.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Limit eating and drinking to times when you don’t have to be near others.  Do not walk around while eating or drinking and replace your mask as soon as you are done.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently during the day particularly before eating or drinking.
  • Use low contact or cashless payment options for concessions or tickets when possible.
  • Use restrooms or concession stands at lower traffic times.  Don’t wait until half time, right after the game or game breaks as there is more likely to be crowding.  When using a public bathroom, check out these safety tips.  
  • Change your celebrations. Cheer by stomping, clapping or using noisemakers.  This will limit shouting and reduce chances of droplet spread.  Don’t high five, hug, fist bump, or celebrate by touching others outside of your family or social pod.
  • Know and follow the rules of the facility.  Check on the rules of the facility before you go and follow these rules to make sure that everyone can safely enjoy the game.

It’s safest to skip the big crowded events. But you can follow some tips to reduce your risk if you decide to attend smaller local outdoor sporting events.

Last update: October 16, 2020 3:36 pm ET
Science review: ERS, JAB