LONG BEACH, Calif. (CNS) – 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.
Last week, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond sent a letter to Newsom’s office, asking the governor to allow limited attendance for the Padres’ April 1 opener. He argued that college football and the NFL both had “successful seasons without any major COVID-19 outbreaks.”
“We are making progress as case numbers go down and the number of vaccines given go up,” he said. “I have been in ongoing conversations with the Padres and Governor Newsom and am hopeful that by opening day we are in a position to have some fans safely in the stands rooting for the Friars.”
Newsom didn’t offer any details on the nature of conversations regarding a return to sports attendance, only indicating that an announcement was forthcoming.
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