GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Get ready to fill The Swamp once more, Gators fans.
The University of Florida announced Monday afternoon that they plan on returning to full, pre-pandemic, in-person participation in athletic and other activities this fall. Translated: 90,000 fans will once again be permitted at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this fall -- masks optional. The University released a separate statement Monday announcing that masks will now be optional in UF facilities and on campus, effective immediately.
In conjunction with the University's updated mask policy, the athletics department released its own statement regarding fan participation. NCAA guidelines currently call for a 50 percent fan capacity at NCAA Championship sites and the UAA will be following those policies for the upcoming NCAA Softball Regionals this weekend.
The complete statement, via the University of Florida:
Given recently released national guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in concert with the State University System, the University of Florida will make masks optional rather than required for students, faculty, staff and guests on UF property and in UF facilities effective immediately. Those not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are recommended to continue wearing masks, according to CDC guidance.
Within UF Health hospitals or other patient-facing clinical facilities, including dentistry practices and veterinary hospitals, masks will continue to be required. UF Health will support UF in implementing these policies as safely as possible and urges those who have not been vaccinated to do so. You may click below for information on how and where to receive your vaccine.
Looking ahead, UF will transition to pre-COVID normal operations for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year June 28, as previously announced. Changes include returning to pre-pandemic classroom capacity for Summer B and Fall semesters. We will also resume full in-person participation in athletic and other activities on our campuses, including fan participation in stadiums and arenas.
As always, please visit UF's COVID-19 website or coronavirus.UFHealth.org for more information. We will continue to update these sites as any new information becomes available.
Please note that while we are encouraged by the progress we are making, we will continue to promote COVID-19 vaccinations, closely monitor the pandemic, and take appropriate steps aimed at continuing to safeguard our university community should it become necessary to do so.
As we begin our summer sessions and look forward to a new academic year, our admiration and gratitude go out to our UF students, faculty and staff, who have excelled, innovated and advocated for the measures implemented to ensure we had a successful academic year while contributing to the greater good across the state and beyond. In addition, we applaud all those who have served tirelessly on the front lines of the pandemic, including our healthcare workers. To you, we owe our deepest debt of gratitude.