Niles issues guidance for football fans

NILES — Niles Athletic Director Jeff Upton has announced guidance for fans who are planning to attend the Buchanan at Niles football game Friday night.

The Vikings and Bucks are meeting on the gridiron for the first time since 1981. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a limited number of fans will be permitted to attend the game. Those limitations are put forth by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, Berrien County Health Department officials at the state of Michigan.

According to Upton, Buchanan fans with pre-sale admission tickets may park in the Ring Lardner Elementary/Apple Festival parking lot and grounds on 17th Street. Those fans may enter the football field across the street and sit in the visitor stands.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. Fans with participant ticket will need to pay $5 at entry of the stadium.

“Niles has played an ‘X’ on the bleachers which confirms social distancing by all spectators,” Upton said. “Please sit with a member of your household on a designated ‘X.’”

Per MHSAA, local and state rules, all spectators are required to wear a face mask over the nose and mouth at all times upon entry to the stadium and during the game.

“New health department guidance also requires all spectators be provide a phone number and name for Niles to retain,” Upton said. “This is in case contact tracing is needed by the Berrien County Health Department.”

Buchanan fans may also enter by the main gate, using the Niles parking lot, but the congestion will be much less using the 17th Street entrance, according to Upton.

“If you don’t have a participant ticket to enter, the game will be available on the NFHS Network for a small fee,” Upton said. “This fee will allow you to watch per game/month/year, and the game can be viewed at any time with your log-in.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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