No high school fans 'until further notice' in Yellowstone County

No high school fans 'until further notice' in Yellowstone County
Posted at 4:26 PM, Aug 18, 2020

BILLINGS -- High school sports are a go across Montana, but no spectators will be allowed in Yellowstone County until further notice.

Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton made the announcement at a media conference on Tuesday afternoon in Billings as safety precautions continue during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rule is also imposed on countywide middle schools in non-athletic events.

"The plan shall be amended as necessary and as COVID-19-related situations change," read a document signed by Felton. "This plan will likely evolve over time as experience is gained with the operation of athletic events and activities during a pandemic, and as the incidence and prevalence of COVID-19 shift over time."

Sports media will be allowed to cover events under social distancing guidelines and with the mandate to wear masks.

Pep band members and cheerleaders will be allowed as supporting members of athletics, according to Felton.

The seven-page Order of Heath Officer statement released during Tuesday's media conference included an understanding by the organization that spectators and family members would be disappointed but that the priority of student-athletes currently takes precedence.

"Student participation is prioritized over the understandable and rational desire of parents, family members, friends, fellow students and community members at large to be physically present at all activities and events," the statement read.

RELATED: Yellowstone County officials announce plan to keep students athletes safe from COVID-19