SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Governor Gary Herbert made a notable exemption to his emergency declaration guidelines: football games. With the high school playoffs winding down and three of our college teams playing, the Governor says, at least for now, the games will go on.

The University of Utah had to cancel its season opener last week because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Now the Utes are scrambling to get ready to play at UCLA Saturday night despite having numerous players sick with the virus.

“We’ve got several, several active cases. Several quarantined. That hasn’t changed much at all when we had the rash of positives in the last week,” Head Coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday. “We’ve had some players that have become very sick. One was in the hospital.”

The university says that player has since been discharged and is recovering. Coach Whittingham says he has had two position groups decimated by the virus and the status of Saturday’s game is “day-to-day”. 

The next week, the Utes host USC in one of three college games in the state scheduled during the two-week declaration, along with Utah State playing Fresno State in Logan Saturday and BYU hosting North Alabama on November 21st. 

Also, Governor Gary Herbert says the remaining high school playoff games are still on.
“There’s only about 12 games left to go and we want that to be concluded,” he said

Governor Herbert says additional restrictions will be enforced at those games.

“Each one of the participants can bring two fans to the stadium so there will be some restriction to the total number of fans who can participate,” Gov. Herbert said. “In order for this activity to be put on, the football game to occur, they’ve got to have social distancing and a mask or they won’t be allowed to have the game.”

The Utah High School Activities Association declined an interview request but did issue a statement saying that all winter sports are suspended until November 23rd, including tryouts and practices for basketball and wrestling.

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