Spectators will now be allowed at school sporting events, according to a joint news release by the state’s Public Education Department and the New Mexico Activities Association late March 4.

“Effective immediately,” the release says spectators are allowed at sporting events under guidelines which apply to large entertainment venues.

Different capacities will depend on the color each county is in under the state’s Red, Yellow, Green (and now Turquoise) color designations.

Those counties in the Green can have up to 50% capacity at an outdoor spectator area, and up to 33% capacity for indoor arenas.

Yellow counties can have up to 25% capacity in outdoor spectator arenas only.

Turquoise counties are less restrictive than Green, and those counties in the Red still can’t have spectators.

In every case, the host team’s county designation governs the spectator capacity.

“It makes sense to align student athletics with what’s now permissible in the current Public Health Order,” said PED Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “We understand the importance of sports in the lives of our students, families and communities. We encourage participation in sports by students as a healthy outlet and by parents as supportive spectators. At our core we want to keep athletes and families safe.”

“We are so excited about the opportunity to have spectators at some school sporting events,” said Sally Marquez, executive director of the New Mexico Activities Association. “We have been working hard with the Governor’s Office, the Public Education Department and the Department of Health to find a way to safely allow fans at the games. We all have something to cheer about.”