Although football fans are itching to return to games this fall, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t believe stadiums will be full.
During the 95.5 radio show “Mojo in the Morning,” Whitmer discussed the state’s plans to reopen as quarantine rules are slowly loosened and business begin to resume again. However, Whitmer said she’s still going to be cautious about large crowds and doesn’t believe that venues will be filled to the brim as usual.
“We’re making progress,” Whitmer said on the show. “There’s reason to feel some confidence here, but we also have to measure (our) expectations and say, ‘Life is going to be different. We’re not going to be filling stadiums in the fall.”
Both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears have games up-in-the-air at this point. Typically, the Lions play to a crowd of 65,000 fans at Ford Field, while the Bears have a capacity of nearly 67,000. Currently, the NFL is slated to play a regular 17-week schedule, though the league sent a memo to teams last week discussing protocols for reopening. Commissioner Roger Goodell said efficient testing would be key.
Whitmer isn’t alone; California Governor Gavin Newsom doesn’t believe sports will return to normal anytime soon. Late last month, he announced a plan to reopen the state in multiple stages. He noted that “the prospect of mass gatherings is negligible, at best, until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine.”
While the state is currently in “Stage 1” or quarantine, sports without live audiences will return in “Stage 3.” However, live audience sports will not return to the state until “Stage 4,” which Newsom said is still months away.