Visiting fans will now be allowed at all Payson High School home sporting events, although only a limited number of spectators will be admitted to varsity football home games.
In a statement released by the Payson Unified School District on Tuesday said fans will be expected to have a mask and social distance as much as possible. All fans will be required to have a mask on, answer some COVID-19 symptom questions and have their temperature taken prior to entry.
Volleyball is the only PHS program to host varsity home games this season on Sept. 23 against Chino Valley and Monday, Sept. 28 against Heber Mogollon. The school didn't allow visiting fans during the first week of games and Payson fans weren't allowed to attend Friday's volleyball games at Fountain Hills.
The varsity girls soccer team opens its home schedule today (Tuesday, Sept. 29) at 4 p.m. against Show Low.
Varsity football games
The varsity football team kicks off the season at home against Lakeside Blue Ridge at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The game will be played with a limited number of tickets distributed, although it’s possible the game could be canceled if the numbers in this Thursday’s weekly GCHD report move Payson into the yellow zone for COVID-19 infections.
“The Payson zip code data from Arizona Department of Health Services and Gila County Heath Department indicates that Payson is in the ‘green’ for the third week in a row,” said PUSD Superintendent Linda Gibson in a press release. “Because of this, we are moving forward with the first home varsity football game on Oct. 2; however, if zip code date is reported as ‘yellow’ next week, the game will be canceled.”
Seniors are normally recognized in a ceremony before the final home game of the regular season. However, after all spring sports had their seasons canceled early because of the pandemic, school officials are going to honor the seniors on the football, cheer, band and cross country teams before this week’s varsity game.
If the game isn’t canceled on Thursday, the following distribution of tickets was announced:
Officials will reduce ticket sales to about 50% of the approximate seating capacity of 1,300, with a total of 595 tickets distributed, including 460 tickets for Payson players, coaches, staff and others.
Visiting schools will be allowed to purchase up to 135 tickets at a price of $5 each for varsity football games. The visiting school must purchase their tickets in bulk early enough to allow time for Payson to send the tickets. Each school may purchase few tickets if they wish.
“The only visiting schools we are pre-selling tickets to are Blue Ridge and AZ College Prep,” said PHS Athletic Director Rich Ormand in a press release.
Blue Ridge fans will enter the south gate. A portable three-level bleacher will be moved to the north side to allow more social distancing ability for the Payson fans.
"For the varsity football games only, no other passes will be accepted, this includes AIA passes as we are limiting the amount of attendance,” Ormand wrote in the statement. “Entrance will only be granted to one person each per ticket. This includes small children. All fans will be required to have a mask on, answer some COVID-19 symptom questions and have their temperature taken prior to entry."
For Payson, each of the 10 seniors on the football team, two on the cheer team, one on the cross county team and five in the band will receive four tickets to distribute to family and friends, for a total of 72 tickets. Each coach/sponsor for football, cheer and band will receive two tickets for a total of 18 tickets.
Two tickets each for a total of 142 tickets will go to the 71 non-seniors on the football, cross country and cheer teams and to those non-seniors in band.
The 79 staff members will receive two tickets each for a total of 152 tickets. The five governing board members will receive two tickets each for a total of 10.
Anyone not planning to use their allotted tickets may leave them for the school to distribute.