Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said he is working “very closely” with Major League Baseball on a plan to allow fans at California stadiums this season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The governor indicated that “advanced” conversations have taken place with the league and public health officials who are finalizing details to update guidelines related to sports venues. And that’s thanks to improving metrics in the state and more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Newsom said.
“We are stabilizing, we’re moving into the red tier,” Newsom said during a news conference at the Cal State Long Beach vaccination site. “When you think forward to April, Opening Day, where we’re likely to be if we all do our job, if we don’t let down our guard … then I have all the confidence in the world that fans will be back, safely, in a lot of those outdoor venues.”
Newsom did not elaborate on the discussions or possible modifications.
The Dodgers are also working with the governor and public health officials on a plan to safely allow a limited number of fans at Dodger Stadium during the upcoming season, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Currently, L.A. County is in the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s reopening plan, but could move into the red tier in the coming weeks, allowing more reopenings.
Under the purple tier — and even in the less restrictive red tier — professional sports are allowed with modifications and without live audiences.
During the Dodgers’ championship season last year, the Boys in Blue played other teams in the American and national league western divisions at Chavez Ravine, but no fans were allowed in the stands. Cardboard cutouts took the place of actual fans during the truncated regular season.
A limited number of spectators were later allowed during playoff games at other stadiums and the World Series in Arlington, Texas, under MLB rules.
The Dodgers start the 2021 season in Colorado against the Rockies on April 1, but Opening Day at Dodger Stadium is scheduled for April 9.
The stadium has been used as a coronavirus testing site and later a vaccination site, and it is unclear if and how it will continue to operate as such if fans are allowed back to watch live games.