"Pitt’s football team will be appropriately outfitted for Saturday's game with face coverings to use on the field and sideline."

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pitt’s football team will have face coverings to use on the field and sidelines for Saturday’s game.

In a statement released Friday afternoon from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Athletics, they say the move is in alignment with recent guidance from state officials.

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“Pitt’s football team will be appropriately outfitted for Saturday’s game with face coverings to use on the field and sideline,” the statement says in part. “This is being communicated to Virginia Tech’s sports medicine staff as well.”

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine strengthened the state’s mask mandate, which requires masks to be worn when outdoors with strangers and unable to social distance.

On an FAQ page about the universal mask mandate, the Health Department says it applies to sports: “Everyone who participates in sport activities including coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear a face covering, such as a mask, unless they fall under an exception in Section 3 of the Order.”

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When it comes to sports outdoors, the health department goes on to say: “This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. If sustained six-foot distancing can be maintained, face coverings may be removed when outdoors.”

A later statement from the athletics department clarified, saying players won’t be required to pull up the face coverings.

“To provide further clarity, Pitt football student-athletes will be outfitted with face coverings throughout the game. However, they will not be required to have the coverings pulled up while in the midst of play to prevent the impairment of breathing. Such usage of face coverings during competition would be in compliance with Section 3 of the Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order,” it reads.

Section 3 of the order exempts some people from wearing masks, but says “all alternatives to wearing a face covering, including the use of a face shield,” have to be exhausted before exemption.

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Exceptions to the order include if wearing a face mask creates an unsafe working condition or if wearing a mask would either cause or exacerbate an existing medical condition.