LSU removes COVID-19 protocols for fans at Tiger Stadium beginning with Oct. 16 game vs. Florida Gators

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LSU, which became the first SEC school to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter Tiger Stadium in the summer, announced Friday that it will lift its protocols in time for the football team's next home game against Florida on Oct. 16.

Citing a reduction in the number of infections in Baton Rouge and statewide, the school said it will do away with game-day testing, fast pass preverification and all other entrance-related procedures.

Masks will no longer be required in outdoor locations for guests under 12 years old.

However, in accordance with state and campus guidelines, all guests will still be required to wear masks in the indoor areas of the stadium.

"The COVID-19 rates in Louisiana have dropped dramatically across the state over the last couple of weeks, and today, the state has a positivity rate below five percent," Dr. Catherine O'Neal, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge and a member of the SEC's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, said in a statement. "Because of this success, we are able to lift the vaccine and testing requirements for entry into Tiger Stadium. By balancing mitigation efforts and risk in the ongoing fight to end the pandemic, we can protect our community and safely celebrate the traditions that bring us together."

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward thanked fans for "stepping up to help stop the spread while still supporting the Tigers."

"Their commitment to protecting our community and supporting our student-athletes has never wavered," he said. "We remain fully committed to providing a gameday experience that is as safe and as enjoyable as possible for all guests, and we will continue to work with university leadership and rely on medical expertise to ensure we are taking reasonable and necessary precautions to protect the health of our community."

According to the statement, hospitalizations have decreased by 80% over the past seven weeks.

"This is amazing progress," O'Neal said. "But the game is not over. This virus will surge again, and Louisiana must be prepared before it arrives yet again by getting vaccinated. The vaccines we have are safe and effective, and getting vaccinated is our best shot at defeating COVID-19."

LSU, which suffered its second loss of the season at home against Auburn last weekend, travels to No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday.