Newsom puts the brakes on Sporting Events in California

The new normal in California, might not include live sporting events with fans until 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom laid out his four stages for returning the state to normal, today. And if you’re a sports or concert fan, it wasn’t the greatest of news.

The plan, which has no general timeline, wouldn’t see the return of sporting events or concerts as we know them until the final stage – stage 4. But Stage 3 does allow for sporting events to take place behind-closed-doors.

“CA is flattening the curve, but the reality is #COVID19 is not going away soon,” the governor tweeted. “Our re-opening must be gradual…”

Currently in Stage 1 of Newsom’s plan — a stage that includes staying at home, and flattening the curve all while building up testing, making personal protective equipment more available, and increasing hospital capacity — sports are prohibited. In fact, any gathering of more than ten people is not permitted. Making large scale concerts or sporting events unimaginable.

Stage 2 of Newsom’s plan, a plan that could start to take shape as residents approach the middle of May, would see a gradual re-opening of some lower-risk workplaces with safety adaptations thrown in. That could include retail (when utilizing curbside pickup) manufacturing, offices (when telework is not possible), and more public spaces being opened back up to residents of the state.

Stage 3 gives the possibility of higher risk workplaces opening up, including personal care (hair salons, nail salons, gyms), movie theatres, and in-person religious services as well as sports without fans.

The final stage of the plan would end the Stay-At-Home Order and would allow the re-opening of concerts, convention centers, and live audience sports — something AEG (LA Galaxy Parent Company) has a considerable stake in with concert and sporting venues around the world.

More than likely, Stage 4 would only be implemented once a vaccine has been developed and proven effective, and testing is widely available with contact tracing enacted.

With most experts putting a 2021 date on any vaccine, you can understand why getting back into Dignity Health Sports Park won’t be something that happens next week.

More than 45,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in California, with nearly 1,800 deaths attributed to the virus. Sports may occupy a very special place in our society, but for now, staying safe seems like a smarter choice. So keeping an appropriate perspective is always important.

But closed-door sports do feel possible before the end of the year. With optimists hoping that’s during the summer months, and pessimists planting that closer to the 2020 holiday season.

“I know we’re all ready for life to go back to normal. But it’s unbelievably important we re-open our economy in a scientific, thoughtful way — guided by public health,” Newsom tweeted.

“Our stores will look different. Offices will operate differently. But we will be healthier.”

And if our stores look different, just how different will our sports look? And how comfortable will any fan be to get back into any packed stadium or concert venue?