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Sunday, 28 February 2021

Health experts say time is right for Mackey March Madness fans

Credit: WLFI
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Health experts say time is right for Mackey March Madness fans
Health experts say time is right for Mackey March Madness fans

Health experts have changed their tune about allowing fans at Mackey Arena for March Madness.

That comes as COVID-19 numbers in Tippecanoe County continue to trend downward.

Inside mackey arena for march madness.

But tippecanoe county's positivity rate has continued to trend down since then.

News 18's joe paul is at mackey tonight.

He joins us live there now with more from his conversations with the local health department.

Joe, what can you tell us?

March madness here at mackey would be huge morale boost for greater lafayette.

Officials say it's a sign we're one step closer to putting the pandemic behind us.

And if done right it could bode well for other big events this year and beyond.

< nat pop it won't look like this... but a limited number of fans will be allowed inside mackey arena for march madness.

"having the ncaa tournament here is fantastic.

It really does help us spread our brand."

West lafayette mayor john dennis says basketball fans are a welcome boost to restaurants, hotels, bars and other businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

"we can see the light at the end of the tunnel but we're not there yet.

There still needs to be a lot of self discipline when it comes to doing things in masks."

That's a sentiment echoed by the tippecanoe county health department.

"all of those same precautions still need to remain in place."

County health officer dr. jeremy adler said in january allowing fans would be a bad idea.

"our covid situation has improved greatly since then."

Although numbers are trending in the right direction, adler cautions about pandemic complacency.

"people need to be very careful about having get togethers to watch the games and really be careful to do those things as carefully as possible and with the smallest number of people as possible."

Fans are limited to about 12 to 13 percent of mackey's capacity.

"i wouldn't get super excited about a lot fans being allowed in."

Health department adminstrator khala hochstedler says it's what happens outside the arena that's concerning.

"it will draw more people to have house parties to watch it and to watch it in bars, and so just like remembering the common sense rules that have been in place for a year at this time."

Dennis says the city is prepared and ready because we've all been here before.

Whether it was allowing students back to campus or fans back to home football games.

All of that provides a template for success this time around.

Jeff?

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