Today marks a big win for Michigan sports fans. This afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that allows professional sports to return to the state under new guidelines.
The order says that live audiences will not be allowed to watch games. However, facility staff and media personnel may be onsite. Additionally, athletes must maintain six feet of distance from one another — to the extent that is compatible with the sport they’re playing — and teams and facilities must follow a COVID-19 safety plan that aligns with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“Good news, sports fans,” Whitmer says in a press release. “We are now ready to gradually and safely allow professional sports to resume in Michigan. While this is an encouraging step in the reopening of our economy, it is critical for athletes to continue social distancing and taking precautions to stay safe. We want to keep our momentum going and keep moving forward, so it’s incumbent on everyone doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The news comes after the MLB announced that its players would report for spring training at their home ballparks by July 1, and a shortened 60-game season would start on July 24. And despite a spike of COVID-19 cases in Florida, the NBA plans to resume games next month in Orlando.
Today, the state reported 353 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 deaths. In total, Michigan has seen 62,306 cases and 5,887 deaths since mid-March. Earlier this week, Whitmer said she would wait to move the rest of the state to phase five of her six-phase reopening plan — currently, the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City region are in phase five.
And while Michigan has still reported about 200-300 cases a day recently, a spokesperson with Whitmer’s office told Click On Detroit that a move to phase five could still happen by July 4.