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Cardinal Stadium welcomes back fans at home opener

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 9:25 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Although not a sell-out crowd, University of Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium hosted thousands of fans for the football team’s home opener against Eastern Kentucky University.

The scene was a major departure from the stadium’s reduced capacity COVID protocols of last season.

Social distancing signs, plastic vendor barriers, and mask requirements – all gone. Only when guests are indoors, like in a restroom or elevator, were fans asked to wear a facial covering.

The parking lot bustled with the fanfare of tailgating. Many of the parties had long-time season ticket holders that skipped last year.

WAVE 3 News spoke with Tom Hamilton, who said that he is looking forward to an in-person season.

“It was boring,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t get to come out and party. Watching on TV is not the same thing. We’re here to have a good time, and we’re ready to go.”

While grilling a tall stack of hamburgers, Cardinals fan Brian Benson said that he opted out of his seats last year due to the pandemic.

“We were just trying to be careful you know,” Benson said. “I’m glad everything is opening back up. We’re ready to get in there and cheer on the Cards.”

Sanitizer stations were near congested areas, and University of Louisville Athletics said in this post that “Fans attending any of the seven home games will be required to adhere to the most updated COVID policies.”

Hamilton added that he feels that vaccinated fans should feel safe to come to the games.

“I’m feeling safe because I’m vaccinated,” Hamilton said. “I don’t have my mask on because we’re outdoors, but when we go indoors, we’ll do the mask thing because with Delta, we do not want to catch it.”

The Cardinal’s next home game is September 17 against the UCF Knights.

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