Although Major League Baseball and the Players Association have yet to reach an agreement on an economic plan and health and safety protocols for a 2020 regular season, they recently received a boon when California Gov. Gavin Newsom said sports could return during the first week of June.
The possibility came with the caveat that fans still would not be allowed, keeping with Newsom’s previous remarks that he didn’t anticipate sporting events in California drawing attendance without a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine in place — which at best will not arrive until late this year.
As counties throughout California have begun to re-open this week, Casey Wasserman, head of the sports and entertainment division of the county’s economic resiliency task force, submitted a letter to Los Angeles County supervisors, outlining how sports could safely return.
It was signed by the Dodgers and Lakers, among other professional Southern California sports teams. According to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, Wasserman is confident the guidelines submitted make for a safe return to sports:
“This reopening will put us on a path to putting tens of thousands of County residents back to work and restoring dignity and normalcy to countless lives and livelihoods,” Wasserman said in a letter to supervisors. “Greater still, these plans provide the scaffolding to begin to restore the communal and rehabilitative joy generated by the crack of a bat, a sprinting score, and the magic of live music.”
“We’re going to have the opportunity for the Dodgers to play home games at Dodger Stadium,” Wasserman said in a telephone interview. “But, if we don’t get this going, they’re going to have to play their home games in another state. The Lakers wouldn’t be able to practice in L.A. for what is likely going to be a season-ending tournament in Orlando.
“These things are doable. We have the ability. We have the safety measures. We have the plan. And we have best-in-class operators. It’s important that we create these opportunities for the community, for jobs, and for the environment in the county.”
The 26-page plan Wasserman presented consists of common health protocols (daily temperature checks and more), a change to prepackaged food, and call for face masks to be worn by every person except athletes who are playing, among other guidelines.
Although the plan focuses on getting sports back into society, the focus clearly is on health. “Develop and enforce policy with health, safety, and well-being of employees, athletes and customers as first and foremost concern,” reads the top guiding principle.
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