The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is still a major concern for the public as cases and deaths continue to roll in, but professional sports leagues are finding themselves in position to finally resume play.
The NBA was one of the first leagues to shut down play, but has been evaluating several different proposals on how to resume the 2019-20 regular season in a safe manner for all involved. A bubble location seems all but chosen, so the last remaining hurdle appears to be the competitive format.
California has been one of the most cautious states in regards to the crisis, but counties have slowly begun to re-open under the direction of Gov. Gavin Newsom. He recently stated sports could return during the first week of June, albeit without fans in attendance, but this would still be a major step toward sports normalcy.
Casey Wasserman, head of the sports and entertainment division of the county’s economic resiliency task force, sent a letter to the Los Angeles County supervisors that outlined how sports in Los Angeles could safely return. Both the Lakers and Dodgers signed the letter.
According to Bill Shaikn of the L.A. Times, Wasserman strongly believes Los Angeles is well-equipped to handle sports’ return:
“This reopening will put us on a path to putting tens of thousands of County residents back to work and restoring dignity and normalcy to countless lives and livelihoods,” Wasserman said in a letter to supervisors. “Greater still, these plans provide the scaffolding to begin to restore the communal and rehabilitative joy generated by the crack of a bat, a sprinting score, and the magic of live music.”
“We’re going to have the opportunity for the Dodgers to play home games at Dodger Stadium,” Wasserman said in a telephone interview. “But, if we don’t get this going, they’re going to have to play their home games in another state. The Lakers wouldn’t be able to practice in L.A. for what is likely going to be a season-ending tournament in Orlando.
“These things are doable. We have the ability. We have the safety measures. We have the plan. And we have best-in-class operators. It’s important that we create these opportunities for the community, for jobs, and for the environment in the county.”
The plan Wasserman mentions call for several health protocols to be implemented, with the focus clearly on ensuring employee, athlete, and customer health and safety. It also outlines best practices to follow in its two-phase plan.
Sports have are able to galvanize and invigorate communities, so hopefully the letter from Wasserman helps persuade officials to allow for them to return to Los Angeles.
Of course, that wouldn’t figure to have much impact on the Lakers, as the NBA appears poised to resume at Walt Disney World.