Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is sounding the alarm that the global pandemic threatens one of the most hallowed Southern traditions: College football.
In a speech on Friday, Gov. Ivey warned Alabamans that the fate of this year’s college football season may depend on how successful social distancing efforts are in the spring and summer.
“If you’re eager for a fall football season coming up, what we’re doing today gives us a better chance of being able to do that as well,” Ivey said.
Ivey’s comments came as part of a press conference detailing the state’s shelter-in-place order, which went into effect on Saturday. The stay-at-home order will remain in force until April 30. Ivey had previously declared a state of emergency on March 13 but said that voluntary social distancing efforts had not been sufficiently successful.
Ivey’s order does contain exceptions. Among these are essential businesses, grocery shopping, seeking medical treatment, and religious services of less than 10 people where six feet of separation can be maintained or where people remain in their cars.
Over the past few weeks, many sporting events have been canceled or played without live audiences. Hopefully, the pandemic will have receded enough to allow football games to take place as scheduled this fall. However, without a vaccine or approved treatment, it is possible that stadium seating could be restricted to account for the six-foot rule.
At latest count, Alabama has 1,676 known Coronavirus cases with 45 deaths.
The state also has two NCAA football teams, Auburn and Alabama, which finished last season ranked 12 and 13 respectively.