Mask wearing falls through the cracks at UArizona basketball game

Fans, students pack McKale Center for start of college basketball season
KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 10:27 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - University of Arizona fans packed the McKale Center last night to cheer on the men’s and women’s basketball teams. But the large indoor gathering is causing some concern as COVID cases across the state surge.

The university has put rules in place to keep everyone safe and healthy.

According to the athletics department website, fans are required to wear a mask at all times inside the McKale Center. That includes while walking around the concourse and in the restrooms. They are allowed to be removed while fans are seated, eating and drinking in ticketed seats.

Last night, a few fans were turned away for not having a mask. But inside, the enforcement of that rule did not seem to continue.

There was little to no social distancing or mask wearing, a direct contrast to the rules which the university claims are in place.

The university denied multiples requests for interview saying, “The University expects that all of our students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors will use face coverings to protect one another during the pandemic.”

That expectation fell short. And at least one health official who has been on the frontline treating COVID patients says she’s concerned.

“There’s a sense of not needing to wear your mask,” said Mimi Coomler, the CEO of Tucson Medical Center.

Before the games yesterday, Coomler had this warning for attendees.

“For those headed to see our fantastic Wildcats kick off basketball season mask up, wash your hands, social distance,” said Coomler. “We should be practicing a level of caution right now that is different than it is a month ago.”

University of Arizona officials said they had nothing to add in response to the concerns of health officials.

Thousands will pack the stands again this Friday, as the university of Arizona men’s basketball team will take on Texas Rio Grande Valley at 7 p.m.

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