Sports fans are craving it, and COVID-19 cases are trending in the right direction to possibly make it happen: Baseball fans may be in the stands on opening day in the Bay Area.
“If we all do our job and don’t spike the ball, wrong sport, I have all the confidence in the world fans will be back safely in a lot of those outdoor venues,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a Wednesday news conference in Long Beach.
His statement got the ball rolling Wednesday with high expectations that fans could be in the stands by opening day.
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“We’ve been working very closely with Major League Baseball, health officers and updating those guidelines as well,” the governor said.
State guidelines that say when counties reach the orange tier status, outdoor spectator sports can resume at 20% capacity.
Right now, COVID-19 positivity rates are down in the Bay Area, stabilizing and moving in the right direction.
Last week, NBC Bay Area asked Oakland A's President David Kaval if he thinks fans will be in the stands this season, and his words were encouraging.
“We’ve come up with a plan for that, and we presented it to the governor’s office, Dr. Ghaly making sure it’s done in a safe and effective way,” said Kaval.
The A's are currently selling tickets in pods with anticipation of fans returning and of course, mask wearing will be a must.
The San Francisco Giants released a statement Wednesday, saying the possibility of a partial opening is encouraging news, but the organization is waiting for additional guidance.
UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said baseball for fans in April is possible as long as vaccines roll out in time, stadiums are not full and people practice social distance.
“If it's limited to a certain capacity, I think it’s a great idea,” said sports fan Clayton Mitchel. “Get people back out going to the games.”
People have been looking for something to cheer about this entire year. Sports fans at the Stadium Pub in Walnut Creek are excited about the possibility.
“If it was open, I’d be there opening day; as long as there was social distance and masks required, I’d go,” said Sherry Loewinger.