BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — The Blue Springs School District is suing the Jackson County Health Department over capacity limits at high school sporting events.
Leaders want to know why the county is threatening them if the district exceeds the cap of more than 100 people at a high school game when the Chiefs will have 16,000 fans at their game Thursday night.
After a game at Blue Springs High School Aug. 28, the district was issued a notice of non-compliance. They were warned of a possible ban of all fans and quarantine of athletes if they break the limit again.
The lawsuit that followed points out a few miles down Interstate 70, also in Jackson County but in the jurisdiction of the Kansas City Health Department, the Chiefs plan to have about 16,000 fans at their game tomorrow night, with the health department director and mayor’s blessing.
Arrowhead is much bigger, but will be filled to 22% capacity. Fans point out the same capacity at Blue Springs Peve Stadium would be closer to 1,000 than 100.
“If the percentages of attendees were allowed at a stadium, it makes more sense than to specify a specific number,” said Dave Wittrock, grandparent of a Blue Springs soccer player.
Dr. Rex Archer, KCMO health director, said the differences come down to extensive planning and man power.
“Just because the Chiefs have the resources to do this in a relatively safe matter doesn’t mean that a high school stadium does,” he said.
Arrowhead will have security enforcing mask guidelines, and the health director said they’ve been instructed to escort anyone out who doesn’t comply after multiple warnings.
Jackson County Executive Frank White responded to Blue Springs’ efforts for an injunction by defending the order, saying the rules are necessary to keep people safe from COVID-19.
Archer said he also supports Jackson County keeping it’s cap at 100 to protect in-person learning at schools. He added trying to allow for a larger safe event at Arrowhead he believes would be safer than fans watching at a bar or crowded living room with people living in different households.
“We want to give it a try. There’s no guarantee we will even have the second game if this doesn’t work, but we thought it was worth trying,” Archer said.
According to Chiefs President Mark Donovan, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the organization on a conference call, “The sport needs you to do it right.”
“Frankly America needs us in Kansas City to do this right so we can prove we can do more of this,” Donovan added.
A court hearing on the Blue Springs lawsuit is planned for Friday afternoon, the day after the Chiefs said the eyes of the nation will be on the stands at Arrowhead Stadium.