Whether or not there will be sports this fall is a question on all of our minds, and this morning, Governor Andy Beshear gave us a glimmer of hope. During a surprise call to Kentucky Sports Radio, Beshear said he believes that if everyone wears a mask and practices social distancing, sports — including a limited number of fans in the stands — are possible this fall.
“I truly believe there is a real possibility and that possibility depends on all of us doing our part. If we all woke up tomorrow and said, for the next month we’re staying six feet away from everybody but the people in our family, we are going to wear a mask everywhere we go, we’re going to wash our hands like we need to, we’re going to be as good as we can about doing the things we know can beat the virus, then yes, I think we could be in a position to not only start those sports but to have at least some folks there in the stands to watch. It is certainly possible.”
Beshear said the first priority is the health and well-being of student athletes, which will require testing and safety protocols. He also cited the Louisville City FC game at Lynn Family Stadium last Sunday as proof limited crowds at sporting events can work. Thirty percent of the stadium’s capacity was open for fans, who were required to wear masks and maintain six feet or more of distance between family seating pods.
“We just held a major league soccer game where they did a really good job, so it is possible but it’s going to have to be when our cases are either stable or going down and that’s why especially this mask requirement is so important. The surgeon general said the other day, and remember, this is a surgeon general appointed by the President and supported by the President, that if 90% of people in the United States would wear a mask, in two weeks we could be seeing something totally different and much more safer.”
What about high school football? Beshear said that because public school systems across the state don’t have the same resources as college and professional programs, containing outbreaks is more difficult, but he’s not giving up hope yet.
“We’ve seen at least one outbreak at a weight room at a school,” Beshear said, referring to the nine student athletes and coach that tested positive at Hazard Independent High School last week. “The gyms don’t get the same type of cleaning and never will as the professional organizations that are out there. KHSAA I know is looking at it very close right now. It is concerning we’ve had multiple different high school sports teams in Lexington and Eastern Kentucky and elsewhere have positive tests. We’ve just got to watch it very closely. One thing we’ve got to look at is, what’s the possibility of altering the schedule so it can be safe as it can be? Again we want to put everybody’s health first but again, we know what it takes to defeat this virus. Are we willing to do it?”
Listen to the rest of Beshear’s call — including his fiery response to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s motion to block all of his past and future executive orders on COVID-19 — below.