LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The University of Kentucky tipped-off its pandemic-impacted season Wednesday night, but not in front the usual 20,000 Solid Blue Fans in Rupp Arena, instead, in a mostly empty arena where only 3,000 people were allowed.
“It brings a sense of normalcy to our lives,” says Lisa Morrison, with her son, Andrew Gomez.
They say they feel safe at Rupp, and are excited they can watch UK’s men’s basketball season opening game in-person.
“We went to the football games and we appreciate the security measures that they took to keep everybody safe and mask up and they’re doing the same here tonight so we can enjoy a game,” Morrison says.
Rupp only allowed 15-percent capacity Wednesday. It also required mobile tickets to reduce contact with staff, health screening upon entry, and its concession stands were closed.
“We have lots of friends who wouldn’t come this evening because they’re worried about the virus and so forth, but we feel all safety precautions have been taken,” Morrison says.
One father-son-duo agrees.
“I think as long as everybody wears masks and are following the rules then we should be fine,” Tony Roberts says, next to his son J.P.
Some Solid Blue fans say they feel everyone followed guidelines during the game.
“They had enough people on staff to flow everything in and out and everybody was spaced out wonderfully, so I think it went well,” says Melissa Baxter, next to her husband James.
Blake and Tom Allen agree, though they say it’s always more fun with more fans in the stands.
“It was fun and I think everybody was safe, so I think it’s better than having no fans there,” Blake says.
J.P. is looking at the bright side of fewer people at the games.
“If it was 20,000 people then the Cats would – then no people would be able to come here.”