Rep. Ben Cline

6th District Republican Congressman Ben Cline has written to Governor Northam urging him to increase the maximum number of spectators allowed at outdoor high school sporting events to 50 percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is greater, and follow the CDC’s six-foot social distancing guidelines, rather than 10 feet as declared in his recent Order. Cline calls Northam’s recent decision on distancing and outdoor stadium capacity “insufficient.” 5th District GOP Congressman Bob Good also signed that letter.

(full letter)  Dear Governor Northam:

We write regarding your decision to amend Executive Order 72, which would allow for more spectators to attend school sporting events. While we welcome this change, we are concerned that the rules regarding spectators at outdoor high school sporting events is too restrictive in terms of who qualifies as a “spectator”. We are particularly concerned that the Executive Order also directs that people sit 10 feet apart outdoors, which is more restrictive than guidance from the Centers for Disease Control to keep a distance of “6 feet of space between yourself and others at all times.”

As you know, several high school fall sports kicked off a welcomed spring season this past week. For these students, the opportunity to play a sport they love and to do so in front of their parents, family, and friends is an invaluable experience. Our communities are especially supportive of the boys and girls who play these sports, and many look forward to these games each week. In addition to the students who play on these teams, cheerleaders and band members have been designated as “spectators,” therefore limiting their ability to perform in an activity they equally love and work tirelessly to perfect. We can all agree that the coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed our way of life for the last year, but it has been especially hard on students who have had to adapt to virtual learning, isolation from friends, and missing out on milestones that all students look forward to in their high school careers.
Therefore, we ask that you consider amending your executive order to increase to 50 percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is greater, at outdoor school sporting events. We believe that everyone involved will work to ensure the safety of students, coaches, and spectators alike, and we appreciate your attention to this matter.