The return of large gatherings like festivals, concerts and sporting events may not be in the cards for the the Golden State in the near future. California Governor Gavin Newsom has effectively ruled out major events as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus that halted hundreds of events.
Newsom revealed at a press briefing Tuesday that California’s current shelter-in-place order will stay in place until several health and safety criteria are met. While he maintained that the nature of the situation is evolving daily, he did not foresee the state safely holding any major events through August as a tentative timeline.
“The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine,” Newsom said via The Mercury News. “So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers altogether across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”
In order to combat the crisis, Newsom is teaming with the governors of Washington and Oregon to create a wide-spread West Coast plan. He explained that California will need to meet the following six key indicators for moving forward with all business operations.
- monitoring cases through efficient testing, contact tracing and isolation
- preventing infection in those deemed high-risk
- ensuring hospitals and health systems can handle sudden surges
- developing enough therapeutics to meet demand
- creating functional ways for schools and businesses to practice social distancing
- determining when to reinstitute certain cautionary measures
Newsom’s latest update echoes a previous statement where he argued that despite confidence from President Trump, he did not envision the NFL season getting underway on time nor in its standard fashion, at least not within California.
While only time will provide answers to the virus’ trajectory within the country, Newsom’s declaration to restrict mass gatherings may not necessarily alter too many events. The MLB, NHL and NBA have all reported several contingency plans in the works, including the option to hold games from one neutral location. The NFL is hopeful to bring teams together for training camp in July after practicing social distancing for all offseason activity, including the 2020 draft, prior to then.
If Newsom’s stay-at-home order extends into the fall, major promoters will face difficulties regarding concerts and festivals, many of which have already been postponed. Coachella and Stagecoach are scheduled for October, and possible cancellation of those dates will bring as much as a $700 million hit to the local economy.
However, the California governor is not the only figure advising the delay of major events. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker expressed his belief that the state not hold any large-scale gatherings this summer, leaving Chicago’s Lollapalooza in jeopardy.