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California, New York govs clear way for sports in empty ballparks in June

Major League BaseballCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo both foresee professional sports resuming in their states next month, but they also foresee play beginning with no spectators present.

Newsom, in particular, sounded more optimstic about pro sports being played in his home state than in previous weeks. And while he warned that there would be plenty of conditions placed on pro sports–higher levels of testing, quarantines for teams and team officials–he did strike a cordial tone. At a time when MLB is looking at resuming spring training in late June and beginning 2020 season play in early July, the statements from Newsom were encouraging.

The same tone was struck by Cuomo during a Monday press conference, where he said he and state officials were willing to help pro sports resume. From CNN:

“New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that,” the governor said during his daily news conference. “Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen we’re a ready, willing and able partner.”

“I think this is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest of the state of New York,” he added.

Similarly, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says pro sports can apply to launch at the end of the month in his state, as has Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. However, while California and New York dealt with the coronavirus pandemic early on and has seen a leveling off in new cases, Texas saw a record number of positive cases this weekend, while both New York and California have seen a decline in new cases over the last two weeks–or, in the case of New York, since April 24. Everyone is eager to life return to normal, but it will be months before we reach a new normal. And with an important issue for players being safety if MLB is to return in July, there needs to be a state-by-state safety review, as well as regional reviews, before play resumes.

With daily news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we launched a Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge to industry professionals. Sign up here.

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