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Fans, with social distancing guidelines between families and groups, Saturday during the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC game against New Mexico United in Colorado Springs.

A mask is just as necessary as a ticket for fans to get into the Colorado Springs Switchbacks' match Saturday at Weidner Field.

The local United Soccer League Championship club took its safety protocols a step further when it announced on social media Thursday afternoon that masks or face coverings are now mandatory at all times, unless a fan is actively eating or drinking in his or her seat.

The wearing of a mask was highly encouraged at the club’s scrimmage and home opener, but cooperation varied widely.

Other safety protocols — like limiting attendance to 1,000, separating the stadium into quadrants, requiring fans to enter the stadium at the entrance nearest their seat, the preference for card transactions instead of cash, and standing or sitting at least 6 feet away from others — will remain in place when the club hosts the Real Monarchs at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Switchbacks and Monarchs last played to an eventful 3-3 draw July 18, with the Switchbacks scoring two goals in the final minutes while playing down a man. The draw gave Colorado Springs four points after three matches, good for third in Group C, while the Real Monarchs have one point after three matches. New Mexico United leads the group with seven points, while El Paso Locomotive is second with five points, though both of the top two teams have played four matches.

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