More changes could be coming for OU game days in Norman

Coronavirus

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Norman city officials say fans need to do better when it comes to following COVID-19 safety protocols on OU game days.

Videos circulating over the weekend show private party-goers who are not social distancing and not wearing masks are raising concerns about enforcement on fall Saturdays.

One Norman City Council members say the parties that happened just off campus in Norman are their biggest concern

“We need to address private gatherings,” said Norman City Council member Kate Bierman.

Bierman says she has seen the videos showing no masks and no social distancing on game day.

“On Sunday morning, I drove thru campus and noticed at least six yards that were just completely trashed with the red solo cups,” said Bierman. ”It tells me that this problem is even more extensive that the media reports on game day.”

On Monday, the Norman Game-day Planning Task Force met to discuss what changes, if any, are needed to the plans they laid out before last Saturday’s first home game.

Norman Mayor Breea Clark issued the following statement:

“The City of Norman and its elected officials are very aware of unsafe gatherings that occurred in our community on game day. We have been working for weeks to plan a safe game day experience for our residents and fans, but this past weekend has highlighted some of areas that need significant improvement. Throughout this pandemic, Norman has led the way in our state with proactive measures to protect public health. That standard was not met this past Saturday, but we can and will do better. Our committee met again today to discuss the necessary changes and additional restrictions that must be made to allow for better enforcement going forward. We will continue to work on these changes over the next week and will have them in place by our next home game. But today and every day residents can continue to do their part in stopping the spread of the coronavirus by wearing their facial coverings, practicing social distancing, and washing their hands.”

Norman Mayor Breea Clark

“Game day is big and its important, but people’s lives are more important,” said Austin Ray, OU grad student.

Students we talk to agree that tougher measures are needed to cut down on COVID risks

“Students carrying more about themselves than the community at large is just saddening to see. Harsher penalties need to be put in place if we want the case numbers to go down here,” said Elizabeth Young, OU grad student.

But not all Norman residents agree.

“I think they are great. I’m all for it. I think we need that. We are all adults, we know what to do with the social distancing, but I think a few parties are not going to hurt anything,” said Becky Ellison, Norman resident.

Norman officials say options will be considered and explored to see what the city can do to cut down on scenes like these so that games are not cancelled and classes put online.

“I really think we need to figure out what if anything we can do about these private parties because COVID doesn’t care. We have a deadline; Sept 26 is the next home game and we really need to take action by then,” said Bierman

Campus Corner owners we talked to say the 75 percent capacity rule, put in place before last Saturday, worked well to keep numbers in check and people wearing masks.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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