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Ohio State Football Fans Return To Ohio Stadium In Force Saturday With COVID Restrictions

Ohio State Marching Band and Alumni Marching Band Members perform Script Ohio at an Ohio State football game.
Thomas Bradley
Ohio State Marching Band and Alumni Marching Band Members perform Script Ohio at an Ohio State football game.

Ohio State football fans will cheer again inside a crowded Ohio Stadium starting Saturday.

The noon game against Oregon is the first regular season game with fans since November 2019 before the pandemic. People will notice several changes when arriving on campus.

“We are requiring masks indoors,” said Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson. “That’s the policy across campus and is the policy in our athletic facilities.”

Masks will not be required outside so fans can show their enthusiasm during the game throughout stadium seating areas. But masks are needed in many places.

“Have a mask in your pocket,” Johnson said. “You’ll need a mask if you take a shuttle. You’ll need a mask if you ride a bus.”

Digital devices will be in heavy use, Johnson said. The university has a new Ohio State Buckeyes mobile app.

“We’ve moved ticketing to entirely digital,” Johnson said. “Your ticket will be on your phone. Your parking pass will also be on your phone. All of the concession stands are now cashless.”

Earlier this week, about 10,000 tickets remained for the game versus Oregon. Ohio State home football games normally sellout.

“This is still an unusual time,” Johnson said. “That’s certainly true here in Ohio, but it’s true across the country and around the world. Yes, there are people who are of course making their own decisions, we totally understand that.”

While students, faculty and staff are required to complete COVID-19 vaccinations this fall, fans do not have to get vaccinated, Johnson said.

Johnson advises fans to come to campus early.

“There’s a lot of construction on campus and so parking will be different and likely not quite as easy as it has been in years past,” he said.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.