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AG Landry writes another letter to Gov. Edwards about stadium capacity

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry(Source: Office of Attorney General Jeff Landry)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 12:58 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 1:13 PM CDT
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LOUISIANA (KALB) - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote a second letter to Governor John Bel Edwards concerning stadium capacity.

The letter reads as follows:

October 21, 2020

Governor John Bel Edwards

Post Office Box 94004 

Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Dear Governor Edwards,

On September 28, 2020, I wrote you to please clarify the intent of your declaration regarding the 25% stadium capacity and its application to inter-scholastic sports. Your statement in reply to my letter claims that your proclamations are “based on scientific data and guidance from health experts and the White House Corona Task Force.” 

My office has checked for guidance from the White House Corona Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found nothing specific for sporting events. However, we did find that both deferred to state or local authorities to make these decisions - meaning, it is your decision to limit capacity on stadiums. 

As to the “science and data” that is guiding you, we still have not seen it. The general public has not seen it either. In fact, many are perplexed as to how scientifically this virus does not spread as families gather around their dinner tables or friends gather around restaurant tables indoors, while eating and drinking; but somehow it is spread while the same families or friends sit around each other in football stadiums.

It is also unclear why a horse track stadium is less likely to transmit the virus than a high school sports stadium. Perhaps, your science shows the virus is less contagious when people are wagering in a stadium and the State is making revenue. I assume the same would be true to gambling indoors since you allow 50% capacity at casinos which attract far more attendants than do high school football games outdoors. 

Do you see why your constituents are confused how “health experts” and “data” and “science” cause you to conclude that 50% or 75% capacity in certain indoor activities is less of a risk than 25% outdoor activities? 

The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s OpenSafely guidance directs organizers for sports and activities and outdoor racing events to strictly adhere to all CDC guidelines. The CDC’s recommendations for events and gatherings states the “guiding principle” that attendance restrictions on events or gatherings should be determined based on state, local, territorial, or tribal safety laws and regulations. Absent a state law limiting attendance, the CDC recommends the event organizer limit attendance to create an environment that socially distances attendees.  In many cases that can be done while exceeding an arbitrary number of 25%. 

On behalf of the thousands of families throughout our State who cherish inter-scholastic sports, I am requesting that you open high school sports stadiums to a capacity consistent with other edicts you have proclaimed.  

While high school athletics may not generate gaming revenue for the State and they may not have big lobbyists, they do generate the revenue that supports those programs and institutions. And they are being devastated by an apparent arbitrary edict proclaimed by you. Give them a break. 

For Louisiana, 

Jeff Landry Attorney General

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