As another region of New York State prepares to ramp up economic activity this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo is encouraging professional sports leagues to plan their own reopenings.
New York has had substantial success flattening its COVID-19 hospitalization curve over the past month and began reopening Friday. Cuomo says the state is a willing partner for any sports league trying to get back in business amid the pandemic.
"Whoever can reopen, we're a ready, willing and able partner," the governor said at his daily briefing on Monday. "Personal disclosure: I want to watch the Buffalo Bills ... but that is not subverting my role as governor. I think this is in the best interest of all people and the best interest of the people of New York."
Six of 10 inter-county regions of New York will have reopened by Tuesday morning. Cuomo announced that the Western New York area had met the seven key reopening metrics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The remaining regions are closing in on their goals, according to New York's Regional Monitoring Dashboard.
With bans on large gatherings expected to remain in effect until there is a proven COVID-19 treatment or vaccine, professional sports leagues are weighing how they can start or resume play without fans in attendance and without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus among personnel.
The NBA recently allowed players in reopened states to resume using team facilities. There is support among the players to resume the postponed season, but the league has yet to make a definitive ruling.
A plan for the MLB to begin a truncated season is awaiting review by the player's association.
The NHL is hoping to open team facilities later this month.
The NFL recently gave teams clearance to reopen facilities with conditions, though the scheduled start of the season is more than three months away.
Leagues are considering 'campus' environments for athletes and coaches, where testing and common sense precautions will hopefully prevent the virus from transmitting.
Still, arranging such an environment and ensuring compliance is a supreme feat of logistics over which even the nation's leading infectious disease researcher Dr. Anthony Fauci has expressed skepticism.
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