WCIA — Illinois football will be one step closer to taking the field this fall when Gov. Pritzker implements Phase 4 of his Restore Illinois plan. The new guidelines are expected to start on Friday, and outline how athletes, coaches and fans will handle game day.

All outdoor college and pro stadiums will be limited to 20 percent capacity for spectators, with at least six feet spacing between fans that are not members of the same household or party. There will not be a 50 person max for these events, like there will be for youth and recreational sports. That means Memorial Stadium will be able to hold 12,134 people. Fans will be required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, except while seated within a venue and six feet apart from others outside of their family or party. The government is also encouraging stadium personnel to ask fans upon entering a stadium whether they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Tailgating is one of the biggest draws to the game day experience but that will not be permitted, according to the release.

Illinois is scheduled to open its season on Sept. 4 hosting Illinois State at Memorial Stadium. Last week, the NCAA approved a preseason plan for football, greenlighting training camps to start Aug. 7.

The new plans do not mention high school sports and whether or not they fall under the 50 person max. The IHSA announced its Phase 2 Return to Play plan last week, but it still needs Illinois Department of Public Health approval. To read more on that, click here: https://www.wcia.com/sports/ihsa-executive-director-craig-anderson-were-trending-towards-having-fall-sports/

In order to move to Phase 5, a vaccine must be implemented, or effective and widely available treatment. The elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time through herd immunity or other factors could also move the state into the final stage, according to the governor’s official website.