Trump Says Sports to Start Without Fans and ‘Made for Television’

    • President announces plans for sports’ return during White House briefing on reopening the economy.
    • The PGA Tour on Thursday announced plans to resume play on June 11.

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The Trump Administration released its guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” on Thursday with a series of steps to enable citizens to return to work alongside normalized social activity. The president also spoke about the potential return of live sports, which have been on hold since the NBA postponed its season on March 12.

Asked about where sports fit within the guidelines, Trump said, “many of them are going to be starting without the fans, so it’ll be ‘made for television’- the good old days,” indicating that would be played and broadcast before fans are allowed to attend events in person.

“Ultimately, we want to have packed arenas- when the virus is gone, we’re going to have packed arenas,” Trump said while taking questions during a White House coronavirus task force press briefing. “We’re going to be back to enjoying sports the way they’re supposed to be,” Trump said, without giving a specific date or league that might be first.

In a separate announcement on Thursday, the PGA Tour said that it hopes to be back in action in June, making it the first major professional U.S. sport to announce its return after the coronavirus pandemic. The tour plans to play 14 more events in the 2019-2020 season, starting with the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11-14 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The White House’s guidelines consists of a three-phase plan for states to gradually loosen restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, while giving discretion to individual state governors to choose, based on the scope of the outbreak within their states. “We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump said.

The guidelines require states to show a “downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses” within a 14-day period before proceeding to subsequent phases. They offer specific recommendations for employers and individuals, depending on where they are in the process.

The guidelines don’t suggest specific opening dates, but encourage states to choose their own based on data.