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Smells like school spirit: Some Mustangs fans in the stands show their support to the boys on the field.

Grab your purple shirts, face paint and bandanas — it’s finally that time.

Fans will be allowed in-person at a Western University Mustangs football game today for the first time in almost two years since Western fell to the McMaster University Marauders at the 112th Yates Cup in November 2019.

The Mustangs are opening the season at home for Purple Kickoff against the same Marauders at 1 p.m. with spectators in attendance.

Steve Barry, manager of Facilities, Sports and Recreation Services at Western, explained the school plans to follow the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s coronavirus safety recommendations by opening up the TD Stadium bleachers to 3,211 fans at a 60 per cent capacity rate.

The university will have many additional COVID-19 safety protocols implemented throughout the event alongside provincial guidelines.

Those attending can enter the stadium 90 minutes prior to kickoff at their designated entrance — the West Gate will open for students, staff, faculty and the public, whereas VIP and guests of the university will enter at the East Gate.

“We have multiple lanes for entry to ensure the process is quick and efficient with three checkpoints,” said Barry.

Visitors should expect to undergo a symptom screening form and contact tracing as they present their digital ticket upon arrival.

All guests will also be asked to show proof of full vaccination. Spectators must have received their second dose at least 14 days prior to game day and fans aged 12 and older will also be required to show identification at the gate.

Those aged two and older in-attendance are asked to wear a two-layer face covering at all times except when actively eating or drinking in their seats. 

Guests will be able to use the stadium facilities — restrooms, concession stands and emergency services — but are asked to refrain from venturing to other areas of TD Stadium.

“Fans can sit in groups of six with members of their own household and must maintain two metres of physical distancing with anyone outside their household,” explained Barry.

The university intends on hosting more in-person home games for the remainder of the Mustangs’ seasons.

“As long as provincial COVID-19 guidelines allow, we are planning on having fans at all of our home games,” he said.

This afternoon’s Purple Kickoff has officially sold out of tickets but fans can look forward to future admissions.

Today's football game is officially sold out. For students interested in attending future Mustangs games, visit the Western Program Details’ website to get access to your free ticket. Western alumni and other fans can purchase tickets on the Mustangs ticket website.

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