COLUMBIA, MO. — Mizzou football will take the field for the first time this season Saturday, but compared to last year, Memorial Stadium will operate at full capacity.
The stadium was bustling with staff and maintenance workers Friday as the final touches were put on Faurot Field before more than 61,000 fans will be allowed back inside for the first time in two years. Proof of vaccination is not required to get into the stadium, but Mizzou is asking fans to take personal responsibility.
“We’re going to be a lot closer to normal this year than we were last year,” Director of Communications for the University of Missouri Christian Basi said. “People have asked us what’s changed from this time last year, the biggest change is we have a vaccine.”
Missouri Tiger football is back and compared to last year, fans can expect to experience a typical game day. Last year’s home opener, only 20% capacity was allowed in for the game and fans were restricted to their pod and masks were required for everyone. This year, Basi said unvaccinated fans should be prepared to mask up.
“If you are not vaccinated and you are outdoors, it’s going to be expected that you’re putting that mask on if you cannot social distance,” Basi said. “We don’t know the vaccination status of those around us so please take the responsible actions.”
For those vaccinated, Basi said it’s recommended.
“We’re not asking for proof of vaccination,” Basi said. “This goes back to holding and asking our fans to be responsible.” Basi said since the start of school, MU Health has vaccinated between 200 and 300 students. According to the Department of Health and Senior Service vaccine dashboard, Boone County has the second highest vaccination rate in the state at 56%, behind Joplin at 59%.
Tailgating will also be back this season after it was prohibited last year but Basi is still warning fans to make sure they don’t put their guard down.
“If you’re around other folks that are not within your own bubble, be aware of that,” Basi said. “We really expect that people are going to be personally responsible and do the right thing.”
While the players will be back on the gridiron, some precautions will still be taken for fans and employees, like plexiglass barriers at concession stands.
“We will have some barriers up around the concession areas for staff, and all staff are going to be required to be wearing masks,” Basi said. “That’s for the safety of our staff and for the safety of our guest.”
For fans who will be in a suite, Basi said indoor guidelines apply which include wearing a mask if you are unvaccinated and for those vaccinated, unless you’re eating, wearing a mask when you cannot social distance.
As of Friday, there were 44 active COVID cases on Mizzou’s campus, but Basi said that’s down 90 percent from last year at this time.
Just like last year, fans will need a mobile ticket to get into the game. While cash will be available at concession stands, it will be limited, and customers are asked to use debit and credit cards instead.
If you forget your mask at home, Basi said ushers will have some available.
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday against Central Michigan.