Large gatherings at public events, such as sports, could remain banned in Los Angeles until at least 2021.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told a group of high-level staffers Monday that "large gatherings" – including sporting events – might not be approved until next year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
"It's difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year," Garcetti said in an interview on CNN on Wednesday night. "I think we all have never wanted science to work so quickly. But until there's either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention, or herd immunity, the science is the science. And public health officials have made very clear we have miles and miles to walk before we can be back in those environments.
"But I hope we can watch sporting events without audiences on TV."
Garcetti's comments echoed those made by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio to CNN earlier Wednesday.
"I've got to see in my city real, steady progress, even to start to think about relaxing some of those social distancing standards even a little bit," de Blasio said to CNN. "I want to get people back to work, of course. I want to get kids back to school. But I think it will take months to go through that whole sequence.
"And the last thing I want to do is gather 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 people in one place. That's like the exact opposite of social distancing."
For Los Angeles, that could mean the opening of the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood – the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers – might take place in front of no fans. UCLA and USC college football games, Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, Major League Soccer's Los Angeles FC and Galaxy, NHL's Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, and WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks could all be profoundly impacted by such an edict.
A member of the Chargers had tested positive for COVID-19 and two others in the organization also have shown symptoms, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. In late March, a SoFi Stadium construction worker tested positive for COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top doctors in charge of leading the coronavirus pandemic response, said sports returning without fans is within the realm of possibility.