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Badger Football fans adapt to COVID-19 rules for unusual home opener

Posted at 10:39 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 23:39:38-04

MADISON — Badger Football fans adapted to COVID-19 regulations for an unusual start to Big Ten Football on Friday night.

It was empty and eerie outside Camp Randall Stadium before the 7 p.m. kickoff against Illinois. No fans were allowed inside, but anyone nearby could hear the game.

Some students said they were determined to make the best of the unusual situation.

"We dressed up, obviously, and came to take some pictures," Audrey Sarasin said. "But the fact that we can’t be in there is quite sad."

"Part of the reason we lived here is for the game-day experience right next to Camp Randall," said Spencer Stowell. "So it is absolutely shell shocking to not have the people here."

Small groups gathered at their houses or apartments around town. There didn't appear to be any large gatherings on or near campus.

The current health order for Madison limits gatherings to up to ten people inside, and up to 25 people outside. If anyone is caught violating the order, they could be fined $376. Otherwise, if students break the rules, they could get in trouble with the University.

"We obviously aren’t inviting anyone over, so it’s just the people in our house together getting ready for the game," said student Fred Richards.

Health officials said they had teams out making sure people and businesses followed the rules. Under the order, restaurants can have up to 25 percent capacity, and only outdoor seating is allowed at bars.

Places like Sconnie's and Jordan's Big 10 Pub on Regent Street set up plenty of tables outside, but it stayed pretty empty for most of the evening.

"As you can see the beer garden which would normally be 1200 Badger fans, is at 20," said Jordan's owner Billy Van Wie.

He said he doesn't expect much of a boost as the season goes on.

"It’s going to be probably too cold to have people expecting them to sit outside, so you kind of know this year is going to be a loss, you just try to make the best of it," Van Wie said.

Data shows average cases and hospitalizations are up in Dane County.

UW-Madison says its average positive rate among students over the past seven days is 1.2 percent.

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