Take me out to the ballgame: Newsom hints sports attendance could return

LONG BEACH (KUSI) – Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday the state is having “advanced conversations” with Major League Baseball and local health authorities around California, and he expressed confidence that if COVID-19 trends continue downward, fans will be back in the seats of outdoor stadiums when baseball season begins.

“We will socialize those conversations very, very shortly, we’re working on the final details,” Newsom said during a visit to Long Beach. “We’ve been working very closely with Major League Baseball, others across the spectrum, working with local health officers, and we’ll be updating those guidelines as well.”

He noted the downward trend of COVID-19 testing-positivity rates, along with a 43% drop in hospitalizations due to COVID over the past two weeks and a 42% drop in ICU hospitalizations.

“We are stabilizing,” he said. “… We have confidence that when you think forward, look forward to April opening day, where we are likely to be if we all do our job, if we all do our job and we don’t let down our guard and spike the ball — wrong sport, but you get the point. Then I have all the confidence in the world fans will be back safely in a lot of those outdoor venues.”

Fans have been barred from attending sporting events since the pandemic began, with the state so unwilling to budge on the restriction that the Rose Bowl was moved out of Pasadena to Texas.

Newsom didn’t offer any details on the nature of conversations regarding a return to sports attendance, only indicating that an announcement was forthcoming.

RELATED STORY: Study finds little spread of coronavirus from fans attending sporting events

In January, KUSI News asked Fletcher if anyone from San Diego County was working with the state on a plan to safely allow fans to attend games at Petco Park. Fletcher responded saying, “at the county we are working daily to lower the case count.” Explaining that lowering the case count can get fans in the stands.

Two weeks later, KUSI News again asked Supervisor Fletcher if San Diego County would advise the state of California to allow fans in the stands for Padres Opening Day.

Fletcher shut down the question, answering, “depends where we are Opening Day.”

Since then, Supervisor Jim Desmond sent a letter to Governor Newsom requesting he allow fans to attend Padres games at Petco Park, but has yet to get a response. Desmond is not part of the San Diego County Coronavirus Team, and none of the officials leading our response have signaled support for Desmond’s request.

Desmond cited this medRxiv study, and pointed to the many other places that have safely allowed fans in the stands.

The complete medRxiv study can be read here.

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Local San Diego News