N.C. lawmakers introduce bill to increase capacity up to 50 percent at high school, college athletic events

N.C. lawmakers introduce bill to increase capacity up to 50 percent at high school, college athletic events
(Source: KEYC)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina lawmakers introduced on Tuesday House Bill 128, which would increase capacity at college and high school sporting events, both indoors and outdoors.

The bill would permit between 25 to 50 percent capacity for public and private k through 12 schools, community colleges and colleges in the UNC System, which would include sporting events at UNC Charlotte.

The bill also says that family members, school employees, entertainers and support staff would not count toward the spectator total.

Read the full bill here.

North Carolina will kick off its high school football season on Friday, in a unique season because of COVID-19.

“For purposes of this section, the term ‘family’ refers to a spouse, lineal descendant, lineal ascendant, sibling, spouse’s lineal descendant, spouse’s lineal ascendant, spouse’s sibling and the spouse of any of these individuals,” the bill states.

The bill does not, however, include private colleges, such as Duke and Davidson, among others.

The bill sponsors are Republicans Kyle Hall of Stokes County, Destin Hall of Caldwell County, David Willis of Union County, and Jeffrey Elmore of Wilkes County.

Last week, Sens. Todd Johnson (R-Union), Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell), and Danny Britt (R-Robeson) introduced Senate Bill 116 Thursday to change the 100-person capacity limit. The bill would allow outdoor high school sporting facilities to be filled to 40-percent capacity.

Currently, only 100 spectators are permitted at outdoor high school sporting events, and 25 people for indoor events.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the UNC System doesn’t allow fans at basketball games, and limits attendance to two family members per athlete.

“Just as getting back in the classroom is vital for North Carolina students, returning to athletic competition is also critical for their physical and mental wellbeing,” the bill sponsors said in a joint statement.

“Our legislation gives families the opportunity to safely support the hard work of their young athletes, and also lets some fans support local teams as our education communities recover together across North Carolina.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to provide an update on capacity limitations on Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.