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UCF Scales Back Mask Requirements, Continues Planning for 100% Capacity at Bounce House This Fall

Knights fans say they’re ready to be back (and vaccinated) in the Bounce House this fall

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

UCF removed its mask mandate Monday and announced it would be “largely operating the way we did before the pandemic” when Summer B starts in June. That includes full participation in social and athletic events, as well as ending physical distancing requirements.

UCF’s transition from requiring masks to just encouraging their use is one more hint that the Bounce House could be returning to 100% capacity for football this fall. The university’s announcement comes weeks after the CDC scaled back its outdoor mask policy for those who are vaccinated.

Furthermore, UCF AD Terry Mohajir said in March he has plans to “sell out” the Bounce House come football season.

“We will certainly abide by all medical guidelines, but we’re planning on 100% capacity,” Mohajir said ahead of the Spring Game that was limited to 25% capacity in the Bounce House.

In a more recent video, Mohajir posted on Twitter on April 19, he said “less than 3,000 tickets left to sell for 100% capacity for the Bounce House. So all you Knights on the fence, call the ticket office today and get your tickets.”

Looking to the 2021 football season, UCF alumna Erin Perdue ‘99 said she is glad the university eliminated the mask mandate.

“It would be extremely uncomfortable to wear a mask during a game when it is 95 degrees out. Plus the CDC has stated that masks do not need to be worn outside,” she said. “I am hoping everyone gets vaccinated before attending a game.”

UCF has not yet officially announced its plans for the Bounce House and the return to full capacity events in the fall — this includes 100% capacity, mask mandates and vaccination requirements — despite officials planning for full capacity. UCF Athletics was unable to be reached for comment at this time.

Spectrum Stadium
Spectrum Stadium. Photo: Derek Warden
Photo: Derek Warden

Last season, the Bounce House remained at 25% capacity through November. UCF alumni Todd ‘77 and Kim Bowers ‘76 decided to not use their season tickets — and it was a “gut punch” — but it was the right thing to do, Todd said.

“Kim and I have been season ticket holders since 1979 and you can count the number of home games we’ve missed since then on one hand,” Todd said. “We’re now both fully vaccinated, have followed all the guidance for the last year and are ready to be part of the crowd in Section 111 for this year’s home opener!”

The UCF Knights’ football home opener is scheduled to be Sept. 2, 3 or 4 against Boise State. UCF announced March 25 season tickets were 90% sold out, meaning single game tickets might not be sold for the 2021 season.

At the beginning of May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced an executive order that would suspend all local COVID-19-related emergency orders. Businesses could still require masks under the executive order, however.

In Orange County — where UCF and the Bounce House are located — individuals should avoid large groups and maintain a distance of three feet from others, according to Executive Order 2021-18 signed on April 28. Masks are still required in public buildings, indoors or outdoors, under the executive order.

Photo: Derek Warden

UCF alumna Emily Banister ‘19 said she would welcome the idea of no longer wearing a mask dependent on Florida vaccine rates.

“I’m personally very excited for 100% capacity … I’m comfortable with [not wearing a mask] for myself personally because I’m vaccinated,” Banister said. “It’s not out of concern for me, it’s courtesy for others.”

In Florida, 35.2% of the population is fully vaccinated as of Sunday, according to Our World in Data.

Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.