WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ American professional sports leagues are all working to get back on the court, rink and field ─ but what about putting fans back in the stands?
Lawmakers say they keep hearing from their constituents about when they’ll be able to attend games again, but based on the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, it looks like that won’t happen until next year.
“These stadiums could be places where literally thousands of people get infected,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, said. “I don’t think there’s any circumstance in which fans should be back in football stadiums.”
Murphy says watching on TV, or through an enhanced virtual experience, may be all fans get this season.
“I want to get back in these stadiums, I want to go see the Red Sox at Fenway, I want to go see the Huskies play at Gampel … I just can live without doing that for a year,” he said.
Lisa Delpy Neirotti with George Washington University says if fans are allowed back, they’re likely to see stadiums limited to 30-to-50% capacity, risk waivers and mandatory face masks.
“It really just depends on the level of risks leagues are willing to take,” she said. “Ultimately it’s up to the fans to help stop this virus by wearing masks following CDC’s guidelines.”
Lawmakers agree that both athletes and fans eventual return to sports must be done with caution to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Everybody wants to try and get back to norm,” Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said.
Hurd said there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
“You need to have plans in place on how to address this based on the unique challenges on the ground,” he said.
Some sports are already welcoming fans back, however. A number of socially-distanced fans returned to Bristol Motor Speedway for a race Wednesday.