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Colorado football ordered to halt practices in attempt to stem spread of coronavirus

Colorado athletics has been forced to halt practices for at least two weeks after the County of Boulder issued a prohibition on gatherings among university students between 18 and 22 years old.

The development came just hours before the Pac-12's CEO group, the governing body made up of chancellors and presidents, agreed to set a Nov. 6 start date for a seven-game football season, following the Big Ten in overturning its August decision to postpone until spring because of concerns about playing through the pandemic.

In a document outlining the restrictions, the county wrote: "This Order is based on scientific evidence and best practices regarding the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically, and evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population within Boulder County are at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19,"

It's unclear how the news will immediately impact the Pac-12's return-to-play timeline, but after the Pac-12's announcement for a Nov. 6 start date Colorado athletic director Rick George said: "Our official practice start dates are pending due to a new Boulder County health order that went into effect at 4 p.m. this afternoon. We will work with our public health officials to comply with the new public health order and be part of the community solution in controlling the spiking cases so we can resume team activities as soon as possible."

Last week, governors from both California and Oregon indicated they would not prevent schools in their state from playing football this fall, however, California still has not amended its guidelines to allow for cohorts of larger than 12 to practice together at any given time. The County of Los Angeles will not enforce any restrictions beyond what's required by the state, it said last week, and the County of Santa Clara, where Stanford is located, said it will require the school to submit a safety plan before giving the green light to practice.

Boulder's order also requires CU students to monitor and report symptoms for COVID-19 and includes stay-at-home orders at 36 addresses in the city. The order says those who do not comply are subject to fines of up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in jail.

Last week, Colorado director of football operations Bryan McGinnis was issued a ticket for a 100-player hike on a Colorado mountain trail, Boulder officials told the Boulder Daily Camera. McGinnis was ticketed for violating a public health order and failure to obtain a large group permit, which was needed to have more than 24 people to gather.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.