MOULTRIE – Fans attending Colquitt County’s delayed season-opening football game on Friday at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium will find a number of changes, including a new artificial turf playing surface installed earlier this year.

In deference to the COVID-19 pandemic that has already created such havoc in society and has caused numerous cancellations of high school football games in Georgia and around the country, those watching the Packers first game will be asked to make some accommodations.

There will be signs placed throughout encouraging, but not requiring, the wearing of face masks, social distancing and frequent washing of hands.

There will be stations throughout the stands offering free hand sanitizer.

Fans will be able to go to the concession stands, but the offerings will be limited to drinks and prepackaged items such as chips and candy bars.

“We are encouraging people to use common sense, whether it’s using the rest rooms or purchasing concessions,” Colquitt County Athletic Director Greg Tillery said.

For those interested in social distancing, the 50th Regiment Band will sit on the visitors’ side of the stadium enabling fans to spread out on the home side.

Banneker, which is located in Atlanta, is not expected to bring a large crowd for what will be the Trojans’ season-opener as well and fans will likely be able to spread out on the visitors’ side.

Visiting team’s bands will not be allowed to attend the games until the Region 1-7A contests against Camden County on Oct. 30 and against Lowndes on Nov. 6.

Packer fans will notice that box that the football players and coaches are restricted to on the sidelines will be extended, allowing players to distance themselves from their teammates.

That change was mandated by the Georgia High School Association.

Other than players, coaches, cheerleaders and medical and other necessary personnel, there will be fewer people on the sidelines.

Tillery noted that the band will not perform on the field at halftime and that fans will not be allowed on the field after the game.

The annual Senior Night festivities will be held on Friday with the 12th-grade football players, cheerleaders, 50th Regiment Band members and Junior ROTC members being introduced before the game.

Fans can still purchase reserved and general admission tickets at the athletic office at the high school.

The ticket windows will be open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m.-noon on Friday.

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