Los Angeles officials may prohibit large-scale events for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak. This of course, would be a major blow to the Entertainment Capital of the World as well as sports and music fans across the country.
The city's mayor, Eric Garcetti addressed the potential ban during an appearance on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. Garcetti was asked about a newly published LA Times report about his discussions to cancel all mass gatherings such as sporting events and concerts until 2021. The mayor confirmed the ban was in consideration.
"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 on The Situation Room. "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 been very clear we have miles and miles to walk before we can be back in those environments."
Garcetti went on to say he was hopeful that the sports and music industries would be able to adapt to such a ban, and perhaps broadcast their events without an in-person audience.
"It is so important for us, even as we're physically distanced, to have that spiritual and social connection—something that we're doing very much in Los Angeles during this [crisis] ..." he continued. "People have to think of about this way: It's not a mayor bringing bad news about these things. These have been immensely difficult decisions to make psychologically, but I've always been very clear of mind."
Garcetti went on to say that it was possible for a small percentage of LA residents to contract COVID-19 in the fall, but large gatherings would put the vast majority of the population at risk and result in another substantial outbreak.
"It could spread rapidly. So, nothing I've heard would indicate that we would be in those large, thousands-of-people gatherings anytime soon," he said, "and probably not for the rest of this year."
It's important to note that not all Los Angeles sports teams have stadiums in the city. For example, the Rams and Chargers are awaiting the construction of the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, which is outside Mayor Garcetti's jurisdiction. The teams will, however, have to adhere to statewide restrictions on mass gatherings, which could be in place for the next several months.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters this week that he does not anticipate large gatherings to occur in the state until we at least get closer to fall. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is seemingly on the same page when it comes to a ban on large gatherings: "We’re confident at this moment we can reopen the schools in September, but we’re not confident about June, we’re not confident about July and we’re not confident about August that we could have people gathering together again in large numbers," he told reporters Tuesday.
Health experts have made similar predictions, stating sporting events and concerts will likely be the last to return once the U.S. economy begins to reopen. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a former Obama White House health policy adviser, addressed this topic during a recent New York Times panel, stating large-scale gatherings probably wouldn't resume until at least fall 2021.
"... Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back," Emanuel said. "Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner. Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest."
As of Tuesday, there were more than 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County and over 360 deaths; while the state of California has tallied 23,338 cases and 758 deaths.