Almost a week after UTEP President Heather Wilson revealed the UTEP football game day guidelines, the athletic department formally announced the COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming season, which kicks off next Saturday, Sept.5 against Stephen F. Austin in the Sun Bowl.

“We have spent the better part of the last few months analyzing our venue and, in coordination with our Special Events team, have formulated a plan that we believe will provide the safest experience possible for our fans,” UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter said in a statement.  “The key will be turning policy into practice, and we ask that all fans review the protocols thoroughly before making their way to the Sun Bowl this fall.  Our game day experience will look different this year due to COVID-19 but, if everybody does their part, it will still be a safe and enjoyable experience for all.”

There will not be tailgating this season for UTEP home football games. In addition, there will be extended hours for parking lots being opened three hours before kickoff, along with gates opening 30 minutes earlier than the usual two hours before the game starts. All fans in attendance will have to wear face coverings/masks and all patrons will have assigned seating. In regards to the concourse areas, all restrooms will have capacity limits, sanitation stations will set be across the stadium and concession meals will be pre-prepped and sealed.

The biggest takeaway from today's announcement is that UTEP will sell tickets on game days at both north and south entrances while promoting virtual tickets to all others.

The full listing of all 2020 UTEP Football Fan Protocols follows, via UTEP:
UTEP Football COVID-19 Fan Protocols

(Updated August 26, 2020)

  1. Fans are asked to follow CDC Guideline and UTEP Protocols:
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Wear a face covering.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the restroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Pregame
    • Tailgating is prohibited.
    • All parking passes will be digital – season passes and single game passes.
    • All parking lots will open 3 hours prior to kickoff.
    • The traditional fan, spirit squad and marching band welcoming of the team to the stadium (Miner Walk) will not take place.
    • Public, shared youth activities (i.e. inflatables) will not be in operation.
    • Faces coverings/masks are required.
  • Stadium Entry
    • Gates will open 30 minutes earlier than usual – 2 hours prior to kickoff compared to 90 minutes – to assist with fan entry and social distancing.
    • Fans are highly encouraged to enter the stadium through the gate closest to their parking spot or the gate closest to their seats.
    • Upon arriving at a stadium gate, fans will be social distanced and must have a mask on in order to enter. Fans without a mask will not be allowed to enter.
    • A clear bag policy is in place and will be enforced. Visit www.UTEPMiners.com/clearbagpolicy for more information.
    • Fans are encouraged to have their digital ticket already downloaded to their phone and opened on their screen to expedite screening and entry. Digital ticket download process:
      • Step 1  Go to www.UTEPMiners.com/tickets and select “My Account”
      • Step 2  Log in using your credentials
      • Step 3  Select the event you would like to manage
      • Step 4  “Add” tickets to your phone on Apple Wallet or “Save” tickets to your phone on Google Pay
    • Once inside the stadium, fans must leave their face covering/mask on.
  •  Stadium Attendance
    • Fans are required to wear a mask while in the stadium.
    • Fans are asked to try and remain socially distanced at all times while traversing the stadium.
    • Fans must follow and abide by stadium signage and directions provided by stadium personnel and security staff.
    • All fans will have assigned seats. There will be no general admission seating.
    • All aisle seats are not being sold to provide additional distancing between fans, especially for fan movement/flow purposes.
    • Fans’ seats are socially distanced and fans must remain in their assigned seats during the entirety of the game (outside of utilizing restrooms, purchasing concessions, etc.).
    • Stadium security and ushers will monitor the stands and other fan areas to ensure fans remain in the seats they purchased and abide by all stadium rules and regulations.
    • Restrooms will have capacity limits and will be monitored by stadium personnel. Fans should plan accordingly if they need to use these facilities.
    • Restroom interiors will be adjusted to provide as much social distancing as possible (e.g. certain sinks and toilets will not be in operation).
    • Restroom signage will be installed detailing COVID-19 recommendations (i.e. hand washing procedures) and fans are asked to practice these.
    • Sanitization stations will be erected throughout the stadium. Fans should utilize these liberally.
    • All concession workers will receive safety training, especially education focused on new COVID-19 parameters.
    • The number of concessions stands and points of sale will be reduced compared to previous years to help accommodate social distancing on the concourse.
    • The concessions menu will be modified to provide more products that are pre-prepped and sealed.
    • Clear Plexiglas dividers will be installed at each concession stand.
    • Concessions points of sale and service locations in hospitality areas will have signage and stanchions or markings to promote social distancing.
    • Fans are encouraged to plan ahead and pay for concessions and make other game day purchases with debit/credit cards instead of with cash as cash sales will be discouraged.
    • Signage and stanchions will be erected outside concession stands to promote social distancing.
    • Concessions items will come with individual utensils, napkins and condiments. Satellite condiment stations will not be in use.
    • Water fountains will not be available this year. Fans are allowed to bring one, sealed water bottle into the stadium.
    • Traditional concourse displays and setups have been reduced or removed to accommodate social distancing.
    • The Bookstore location on the East side of the stadium will have reduced occupancy that will be monitored.
    • All stadium staff and game day personnel will be required to fill out and complete an online COVID-19 screening form prior to arriving to campus for game day.
    • All stadium staff and game day personnel will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
    • In addition to wearing a mask, concessions and game day vendors will be required to wear gloves.
    • Frequency of cleaning by custodial staff will be increased, especially in high traffic public areas and items that incur shared use (countertops, railings, doorknobs/door handles, elevator buttons, etc.)
    • COVID-19 fan protocols will be messaged and reiterated via the video board and public address system.
       
  • Stadium Exiting
    • At the conclusion of the game, fans will be instructed to depart in a “deplaning” fashion with those fans closest to the exits leaving first followed by the next closet fans, all the while recognizing and respecting social distancing.
       
  • Other Game Day Protocols
    • Game tickets will only be sold through the following channels prior to game day:
    • On game day, the North and South Sun Bowl box offices will open 3 hours prior to kickoff to provide in-person sales (if tickets remain).
    • The UTEP Marching Band will not perform on the field at any time.
    • The UTEP Spirit Squad will be on the field but socially distanced