LSU to allow full stadiums, removes mask mandate for outdoor sporting events

LSU is doing away with attendance limitations and its mask mandate for all outdoor athletic activities, the school announced on Wednesday.

The move to 100% capacity is effective immediately with the first outdoor event coming on Friday when the baseball team hosts Arkansas for the beginning of a three-game series.

Barring a change in policy between now and the fall, that means LSU's Tiger Stadium could seat as many as 102,321 patrons during home football games.

Normal tailgating activities on campus were also cleared to resume on Wednesday.

This comes a day after Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced the end of the statewide mask mandate and crowd limitations on outdoor events.

On Monday, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors "except in certain crowded settings and venues."

"We are excited about the opportunity to welcome our fans back in full force this weekend," said LSU athletic director Scott Woodward in a statement. "This move is another positive step for us as a campus and community. I want to thank our fans that have patiently waited and abided by the protocols we had in place since our return to competition in the fall. It's going to be a great sight to see our fans pack Alex Box Stadium, Tiger Park and Bernie Moore this weekend."

Athletic directors at fellow SEC programs Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M have said they expect to be back to full capacity in the fall.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which is scheduled to host the season-opening game between Alabama and Miami on Sept. 4, announced on Wednesday that it would be returning to 100% capacity beginning May 15 for the Atlanta United match against CF Montréal. Atlanta United's capacity for its Mercedes-Benz Stadium soccer configuration is 42,500 seats.