On Wednesday afternoon, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced new COVID-19 public health measures, which in addition to other changes, adjusted attendance restrictions at Iowa's high school and recreational athletic events.
Instead of just two people per athlete, as has been the case this season, Reynolds' new measure allows all members of a participant's immediate household to attend, with masks and social distancing still required, though students participating can be closer than six feet and are not required to wear masks.
Participants include athletes, performers, competitors, cheerleaders, pep band members or staff members, and the new measures run through Jan. 8.
In light of this news, the Top of Iowa Conference (TIC) sent out new spectator guidelines on Thursday morning.
In the new guidelines, the TIC is now allowing all members of an athlete's household to attend events with another passholder. If a person attending an event is not in the same family household as the athlete, such as uncles, grandparents, cousins, and family friends, each person will need their own pass to the event.
Family groups are asked to keep six feet of distance between other groups. Masks will continue to be required for entrance, and must cover the mouth and nose for the entirety of the event.
Attendance will not be granted without a lanyard pass, which must be worn at all times. When an athlete's game is over, the household members are asked to leave as soon as possible.
While the Top of Iowa Conference is making the changes, the area's other conferences will be staying put for the time being. According to Mason City Activities Director Tracy Johnson, the CIML will be sticking with its current guidelines of two people per participant.
"We are staying until winter break, and we have a meeting on Jan. 6 to discuss," Johnson said.
In an email, Clear Lake Athletic Director Dale Ludwig said that the North Central Conference would also hold off on allowing more spectators before the start of winter break.
"We are going to stay put for the next week since we only have a few events," Ludwig said. "We will reassess over break."
Shane Lantz covers sports for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Shane.Lantz@GlobeGazette.com, or by phone at 641-421-0526. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneMLantz.