While the landscape of the 2020-21 Kentucky high school basketball season (and other indoor sports) continues to take shape, one point is clear: attendance at local venues will be severely restricted this season due to COVID-19 concerns.

On Tuesday, First Region superintendents and their correlating athletic directors released a joint statement with very specific and mutually agreed-upon terms regarding spectators and all indoor sports — seemingly in line with current suggestions from the governor’s office.

1. All indoor sports will be restricted to 15% capacity. This means that ticket sales will be very limited. Visiting teams (in most cases) will be allocated a total of 60 tickets. Home team tickets sales will vary by venue depending on seating capacity.

2. Cheerleaders will be allowed only at home events.

3. Masks must be worn correctly by all spectators at all times. Spectators who refuse to comply will be asked to leave.

4. Passes will not be accepted.

In layman’s terms, a 15% capacity restriction must also include all players, coaches, officials and other support staff associated with the sporting event — meaning attendance will mathematically be less than 15% for all teams in the First Region.

Furthermore, the use of “home” cheerleaders means opposing teams will not have their cheerleaders travel.

These guidelines come on the heels of two potentially major announcements due this afternoon, both from the office of Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, as speculation continues to run rampant regarding further regulations.

As of Tuesday, the high school basketball season is set to begin on Nov. 23, with the St. Mary Boys Thanksgiving Tournament, the Murray girls at Paducah Tilghman, and the Community Christian girls at Fulton County among the local flavor for tipoff.

Stark COVID-19 numbers and many schools opting for non-traditional instruction, however, might be painting a different picture.

As of Tuesday evening, only 14 of the state’s 120 counties — including Ballard County, Trigg County and Fulton County — were clocked at an “orange” rate of incidences. The other 106 counties were in the “red,” meaning there is a daily rolling average of 25 or more diagnosed and active cases per 100,000 residents.

According to a Tuesday report from The Sun’s Derek Operle, it took just seven days for another 1,000 COVID-19 cases to be identified in the Purchase Area, which broke the 6,000-case mark this past Sunday.

“It is rampant, undesirably flourishing,” Graves County Health Department Director Noel Coplen told the Sun on Monday. “We all need to stay away from others as much as possible. And when we are around others, we need to treat them as though we are both positive.”

On Tuesday, Beshear confirmed the state’s “deadliest day” since the pandemic began in early March: 33 new deaths, and 2,931 new cases across the commonwealth.

Follow Marlowe on Twitter @dreamarlowe85, call him (270) 575-8661, or email him at emarlowe@paducahsun.com.

Follow Marlowe on Twitter @dreamarlowe85, call him (270) 575-8661, or email him at emarlowe@paducahsun.com.

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