ATLANTA — There's nothing more traditional for falls in Georgia than Saturday college football games and the tailgating that comes before them. But, like many things this year, that will not be the case this 2020 football season for some, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, the University of Georgia announced that there would be no tailgating allowed before home football games for the entirety of the season. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, said that tailgating would be scrapped for the school's home-opener against the University of Central Florida.
"We have decided that it is in the best interests of our entire Georgia Tech family to not allow tailgating for Saturday’s opener against UCF,” Georgia Tech's director of athletics Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “This is not a decision that was made lightly. However, at this time, we feel that the safest course of action is to invite fans to come straight from their vehicles to Bobby Dodd Stadium, where we can better safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and visitors through the protocols that we have in place designed to mitigate the risk of the transmission of Covid-19.”
Chairs, grills and coolers will not be permitted outside of an individual’s vehicle, and no loitering or gatherings of any size will be permitted in any on-campus area outside of the Bobby Dodd Stadium footprint for Saturday’s 2 p.m. game.
Likewise, tailgating for UGA football will not be allowed - but for the length of the season.
"UGA Athletics reached this decision in accordance with public health guidelines and counsel provided by our own UGA health officials," the school said in a statement. "It is consistent with the approach taken by other SEC schools, including Alabama, Florida, LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss."
While the large congregations that come along with tailgating aren't allowed, UGA said falls will still be allowed to gather near their own vehicles with family members or those they are sitting next to for the game.
"UGA Athletics thanks fans in advance for adhering to these necessary, but regrettable, changes," the school said. "We look forward to resuming our tradition of tailgating when it is safe to do so."