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Ohio State refusing family members amid rising COVID-19 cases, to reevaluate prior to Michigan game

Family members of Ohio State coaches and student-athletes are no longer permitted to attend sporting events for teams playing this fall due to a stay-at-home order in Columbus, Ohio.

The decision is immediate and means Ohio State will not have any family members in the stands for its game against Indiana on Saturday. The decision not allowing family members at football games will be reevaluated prior to Ohio State’s game against Michigan on Dec. 12.

The school had allowed a few hundred people at the first two home football games.

Family members of Ohio State’s men’s and women’s basketball and hockey student-athletes and coaches will not be allowed at games through the remainder of 2020, however.

The move to close Buckeyes contests to spectators aligns with the Columbus Department of Health’s stay-at-home order, which goes into effect at 6 p.m. ET Friday and will be in place for the next 28 days.

“The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, spectators and event staff is our top priority,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “We had hoped to continue to allow family members of our student-athletes and coaching staffs to be able to attend games, but circumstances around this pandemic are prompting us to adjust, just as it has throughout the past eight months. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and we will continue to do what is in the best interests of everyone involved.”

The stay-at-home order was issued “due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the city and county,” Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts told 10 WBNS in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 6,794 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday along with 360 hospitalizations that have resulted in many changes, including a 10 p.m. curfew, for the state.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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