Oregon governor: Fans likely won’t be able to attend state sporting events until at least October
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Thursday signaled that sporting events in the state most likely wouldn’t include fans until October at the earliest because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is some difficult news to share,” Brown said at her press conference. “Large gatherings, including live sporting events with audiences, concerts, festivals and conventions will not be able to return until we have a reliable treatment or prevention like a vaccine.”
She added, “The Oregon Health Authority is advising that any large gathering, at least through September, should either be canceled or significantly modified. I know this is really, really hard. I will miss visiting our fairs and festivals this year.”
The effected sports teams include Portland’s pair of professional sports franchises — the NBA’s Trailblazers and MLS’s Timbers — and the collegiate fall sports, most notably NCAA football.
The University of Oregon is scheduled to play its home opener against North Dakota State on Sept. 5, before hosting Ohio State on Sept. 12 in a highly touted match-up. In all, the Ducks have three home games scheduled in the month of September.
“We will continue to work with state and local officials, public health experts, and campus leadership in navigating all of the unprecedented issues surrounding COVID-19 and when our student-athletes will be able to return to competition,” Oregon Athletics said in a statement after Brown’s announcement. “The health and safety of our student-athletes and community will continue to be our top priority.”
Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s epidemiologist, had a similar outlook.
“We want to continue to examine the types of activities that can take place,” he said at the press conference. “Noncontact sports like golf and tennis, where people can maintain a distance, are probably some of the things we will see coming back first. For some other sports, basketball and football and other things where there is more close contact, obviously there is more risk.”