College Football

College Football Playoff organizers prepare for huge crowd amid COVID spread

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When it comes to hosting another huge sporting event, even as COVID-19 looms in the backdrop. Indianapolis’ reputation speaks for itself, said Dr. Virginia Caine, Marion County health director during a news conference Tuesday in advance of the College Football Playoff.

“I think the trick is we have a long-sustaining experience with big events like this, the NCAA, The Indy 500,” Caine said.

About 100,000 people are expected in downtown Indianapolis. Despite a surge of people are getting sick from the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Caine was confident the big events Saturday through Monday for College Football National Championship can go on safely. “People know what it takes to be safe. Wear that mask while indoors and get vaccinated with the boosters. Get themselves tested before the game,” Caine said.

On Tuesday, Mayor Joe Hogsett acknowledged people behind the scenes who are working around the challenges of safely holding the major sporting event during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are asking that attendees follow the instructions of law enforcement and from public health experts and public health officials and continue to reduce the risk of any spread of COVID-19,” the Democrat mayor said.

College Football Playoff attendees won’t have any restrictions. According to the 2022 Indianapolis Host Committee, masks are not required to be worn inside the Indiana Convention Center to attend the Playoff Fan Central events or inside of the Lucas Oil Stadium for Monday night’s championship game.

Despite not having any restrictions, county health officials encouraged people to wear masks, and take it upon themselves to practice good health and hygiene routines.

College Football Playoff volunteers and staff are prepared to handle the coronavirus with the large crowd. Ryan Allen Hall, director of events for the College Football National Championship, said preparations include “lots of sanitizing, space, those kinds of things. We will be watching crowd sizes. We will make sure people have room to be safe.”