Fans experience tailgating in the COVID era at Georgia Southern

COVID-19 has changed many thing in the sports landscape, but one thing in Statesboro has persisted: tailgating before an Eagles game.

Fans experience tailgating in the COVID era at Georgia Southern

STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - COVID-19 has changed many thing in the sports landscape, but one thing in Statesboro has persisted: tailgating before an Eagles game.

“Georgia Southern is one of the few schools right now actually allowing fans and we’re very, very thankful for that, and that’s why we’re wearing the mask," said Georgia Southern fan Tyler Moody. "We’re social-distancing. We don’t want to take anything for granted.”

The tailgates are smaller in size. You’ll see plenty of Eagles face masks to go along with the rest of the team gear, and reminders to remain safe all the way down to the signs.

Two well-known tailgate set-ups called GATA Row and GATA Nation say they miss very few games, home or away, so they’re changing a few game-day traditions.

“We’re not going to get near the team or coaches or high-five them as usual," said GS fan Mark Terrell. "They usually come by before every game on the way to the stadium. We’re going to take a step back and let them do their thing.”

In a typical season, they’d invite any and everyone from Eagle nation, this year, they’re inviting fans to set up close by, but that each group stay with their own tent.

{MARK TERRELL/ FAN} “We feel completely safe and we’re going to keep it safe all season," Terrell said. "The last thing we would want is an issue to happen just from tailgating.”

Fans say they’re glad they could be in Statesboro and make it to Paulson Stadium to cheer on the Eagles like usual, though in socially-distanced seating, a sense or normalcy in times that are anything but.

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