Charlotte becomes first major college in NC to block fans from sports events this season

The 49ers are believed to be the first collegiate athletic program in the country to announce such a move
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 4:04 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - The Charlotte 49ers are closing the doors to fans at home sporting events for about three weeks, due to surging COVID-19 infection rates attributed to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

The 49ers are believed to be the first collegiate athletic program in the country to announce such a move, although dozens of college and professional basketball and hockey games are being postponed daily due to the surge.

Provincial governments in Canada also have limited attendance, to 1,000 fans in most cases, and the NHL has responded by postponing a number of games until those restrictions can be lifted.

The 49ers said Friday that attendance will be limited at home athletic events until Jan. 24.

Only a small number of participants’ family members will be permitted to attend.

The number of COVID cases has reached record levels across the United States, forcing a number of entertainment events — such as Broadway plays — to shut down.

Among the latest announced postponements was Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which was to have taken place in early February in New York City.

College athletic teams across the country played before empty or nearly empty stadiums and arenas during the fall of 2020 and winter of 2020-21.

Most schools permitted full attendance starting in September, with many spectators having been vaccinated. But the fast spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant has changed things.

Charlotte university officials say fans who bought tickets for games before Jan. 24 will be offered refunds.

The ticket office will contact ticket-holders next week, they said.

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