Major sports leagues have postponed play since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a return is in sight. Governors from California and Texas have revealed that pro sports could return in their respective states either at the end of May or in early June, although they would have to hold events without fans in attendance.
Speaking during their daily press briefings on Monday, both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and California Gov. Gavin Newsom touched on the return of sports. Newsom said that games could resume in California "without spectators and with modification and very prescriptive conditions" if the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease. Abbott said that sports could resume in Texas at the end of May.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state could see pro sports return by the first week of June without fans. pic.twitter.com/j4PPg56Yn7— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 18, 2020
"Sporting events or pro sports in that first week of June without spectators and modifications and very prescriptive conditions could also begin to move forward, and a number of other sectors in our economy will open up. Again, if we hold these trend lines in the next number of weeks," Newsom said. This news coincided with training facilities for several Southern California-based franchises opening for players to prepare for their respective sports' returns.
Abbott confirmed during his press briefing that Texas is entering the second phase of the plan to reopen the state amid the coronavirus pandemic. This phase allows bowling alleys, personal-care centers, zoos and youth sports, among other spaces, to open. All businesses that open must adhere to the specific safety standards and the minimum standard health protocols that governments have established.
While the governors in California and Texas have set timelines for the return of sports in their respective states, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not. He did say during his daily press briefing that teams in the state should plan on reopening without fans. He just did not set a date.
"Hockey, basketball, baseball, football — whoever can reopen — we're a ready, willing and able partner," Cuomo said on Monday. "I think this is in the best interest of all the people and the best interest of the state of New York." Cuomo gave this briefing in Buffalo and said that he wants to watch the Buffalo Bills once again. The AFC East team is poised to capture the division after Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Cuomo is ready to see it happen.
Western New York has met the coronavirus containment goals and will enter the first phase of reopening on Tuesday. Several businesses in Buffalo and the surrounding area will be able to open once again, but the Bills' facility at Orchard Park is not included in the first phase. The team will have to continue waiting to reopen the facility.