The Morning Call

Pitt, Va. Tech play­ers to wear masks on field

- By John McGoni­gal and Jerry DiPaola Virginia · Pittsburgh · Heinz Field · Pennsylvania

PITTS­BURGH — Pitt and Vir­ginia Tech play­ers will wear face cov­er­ings both on the field and on the side­lines in Satur­day’s game at Heinz Field.

Pitt of­fi­cials Fri­day is­sued the fol­low­ing state­ment in re­gards to pro­to­cols for the Panthers’ fi­nal home game of the sea­son.

“In align­ment with the re­cent guid­ance from state of­fi­cials re­gard­ing the cur­rent health cli­mate, Pitt’s foot­ball team will be ap­pro­pri­ately out­fit­ted for Satur­day’s game with face cov­er­ings to use on the field and side­line. This is be­ing com­mu­ni­cated to Vir­ginia Tech’s sports medicine staff as well.”

Face shields on hel­mets, which many play­ers wear al­ready, will not suffice. The Panthers and Hok­ies will be “ap­pro­pri­ately out­fit­ted” with ei­ther masks or neck gaiters to be worn whether they’re on the field play­ing or not.

“Pitt’s med­i­cal per­son­nel have been in touch with our med­i­cal team and advised us of the ap­pro­pri­ate pro­ce­dures for Satur­day,” said Pete Moris, as­so­ciate ath­letic di­rec­tor for strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Vir­ginia Tech. “Wewill fol­low Pitt’s di­rec­tion on ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures.”

The news comes three days af­ter Penn­syl­va­nia Sec­re­tary of Health Rachel Levine

re­leased stricter mask re­quire­ments for state res­i­dents in at­tempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. One of the or­ders re­quired that peo­ple wear masks out­doors when “un­able to main­tain sus­tained phys­i­cal dis­tance.”

Ac­cord­ing to an FAQ on the state health depart­ment’s web­site, the re­quire­ment ap

plies to ath­letes. But Sec­tion 3 of Levine’s or­der states that there’s an ex­emp­tion for those that “wear­ing a face cov­er­ing would ei­ther cause a med­i­cal con­di­tion, or ex­ac­er­bate an ex­ist­ing one, in­clud­ing res­pi­ra­tory is­sues that im­pede breath­ing, a men­tal health con­di­tion or a dis­abil­ity.”

 ?? MATT GENTRY/AP ?? Pitt play­ers, shown above tak­ing the field be­fore a game against NC State will wear masks on the field Satur­day like Vir­ginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, above.
MATT GENTRY/AP Pitt play­ers, shown above tak­ing the field be­fore a game against NC State will wear masks on the field Satur­day like Vir­ginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, above.
 ?? JUSTIN BERL/GETTY ??
JUSTIN BERL/GETTY

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