Crowd Concerns As Bedlam Looms Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, November 17th 2020, 6:42 pm

NORMAN, Okla. -

Any other Bedlam year and the streets of Norman would be overflowing with both OU and OSU fans. But in 2020, Norman Mayor Breea Clark hopes the game will not draw crowds.

"TVs work. You can watch it from the comfort of your own home," said Clark.

New statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants will limit the size of crowds and how late they can celebrate at places like Campus Corner.

Clark expects businesses to strictly follow the restrictions that mandate physically distanced dining rooms and an 11 p.m. closing time.

"We have created teams of our fire marshals and code enforcement to enforce our own restrictions that involve capacity and closing on game days. We know what game days are like," said Clark.

On top of that, Norman's city already requires masks to be worn in public places and in groups of 25 or more in private places like homes.

"With students and house parties, our police department is on full alert with that one," said Clark.

For businesses in Norman, it will mean a loss of revenue.

"Our hotels are not seeing the influx we thought we would with the evening game," said Clark.

Even ESPN's College GameDay program will have a different look and a prime location, but little fan interaction.

"They were on the game day planning call yesterday, and they confirmed game day would be within the stadium and marked off before the game even starts," said Clark.

Next week students from both OU and OSU will be learning remotely as they return home for the holidays. Both universities urge students to get a COVID test before going home.

Related Story: OU, OSU Encourage COVID-19 Testing Before Thanksgiving Holiday Travel