Sacramento, California. – The state’s top health official said Tuesday it will allow California fans to return to outdoor venues for sports events in districts with low corona virus infection rates.
San Francisco and neighboring Alameda and Santa Clara are the only districts that meet the gateway to pro sports. However, as soon as the announcement was made, authorities in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, issued a statement saying they were not prepared to allow even a small number of fans into Levi Stadium.
Dr. Jeff Smith, managing director of Santa Clara County, said 14,000 people could attend Levi’s Stadium events under the state’s guidance, which could lead to catastrophic “superspeeder” events.
“It’s a matter of fair scientific decision-making rather than political decision-making,” Smith told reporters. “Putting the audience in a stadium in large groups raises the issue. It’s like a petri dish.”
Being outside is not enough to guarantee that the virus will not spread, because fans can enter and leave the stadium using the same lounges and doors, screaming during the game.
The 49 veterans said the group welcomed the news from the state but would continue to cooperate with local public health officials to implement a plan to ensure the health of the group, its staff and the public. Many NFL teams in other states play stand with fans.
Under state rules, pro sports teams may have limited ability in outdoor arenas, which are at the lowest two levels of the state’s four-tier model to reopen. Only fans living within a 120-mile radius can purchase tickets.
Secretary of State for Health Dr. Mark Galli said the goal of sporting events is to keep the crowd small and regional without allowing spectators to gather from other areas and increase the risk of exposure and spread of infections.
No district in Southern California has reached those levels, so NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers fans are still marginalized.
San Francisco was the first most populous district to go to the lowest level of the state for epidemics. All other districts at that level are rural areas scattered near the Oregon border or in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.