As Alabama football marches forward with plans to start its season in one month, the campus is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent spike of coronavirus cases has forced the closure of bars in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for two weeks. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox announced the decision, which was requested by university officials.

“Despite the robust testing, training, health and safety measures we carefully and clearly implemented, there is an unacceptable rise in positive COVID cases on our campus,” University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart Bell said in a letter to students.

“Make no mistake, this trend is a real threat to our ability to complete the semester on campus. The solution is proven: testing, mask wearing, social distancing, personal hygiene and compliance with crowd size limits are all that are asked as we work together to complete the semester together.”

Since classes resumed last week, Alabama has reported more than 500 coronavirus cases.

Neither Bell nor Maddox said that football was in trouble, though the rise in cases might be a cause for concern. Shortly before the fall semester began, Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne criticized a group of people that gathered on campus without masks and indicated that such behavior could put the season in jeopardy.

Four of the 10 FBS conferences have decided not to play football in 2020, including two of the Power Five conferences. The SEC, Big 12 and ACC are all preparing for a fall season.

Both the University of North Carolina and Notre Dame suspended in-person classes shortly into the start of the new school year. They are still going forward with preparations to play ACC football next month.

Alabama is set to play a conference-only schedule, starting with a matchup against Missouri on Sept. 26. The Crimson Tide are scheduled to play their home opener on Oct. 3 against Texas A&M.

The university announced last week that it would limit seating to approximately 20% capacity for games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Facemasks will be required, and there is a moratorium on tailgating on campus.

Alabama has reported an average of 1,101 daily coronavirus cases over the last week, according to the New York Times. Alabama was averaging 855 cases per day a week ago.

Nick Saban of the Alabama
Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team on the field prior to the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on Nov. 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images