SANTA CLARA (KPIX) — San Francisco 49ers fans who were excited to see what the team would do this season following their near Super Bowl win, may have to wait until at least Thanksgiving.
“Even if we do well here in Santa Clara, if you have a big event that attracts thousands of people from all over the nation, you run the risk of reinfecting everyone,” said Santa Clara County Executive Officer Dr. Jeff Smith.
He told the board of supervisors during its meeting Tuesday that he believed sporting events would be canceled through at least November, maybe even later.
“In my opinion, it’s unlikely that the shelter in place will be lifted at least until late fall because we don’t have a national shelter in place program,” Smith said.
Smith’s opinion was part of a broader discussion that he had with supervisors when asked when they could consider lifting the shelter-in-place order.
If Smith is correct, that means sporting events, including the San Jose Sharks, the San Jose Earthquakes and collegiate sports at Santa Clara University, San Jose State and Stanford University would cease to exist.
Ultimately, it will be up to county’s public health director to decide on the order and when it is lifted.
Rex Wang, who is a 49ers season ticket holder, said he and his friends have already discussed not attending the games this season even if the order was lifted but there was not yet a vaccine.
“I love my Niners, I love all my Bay Area teams but I think at this time until a vaccine is out where people can feel safe and secure and we can curb this virus, I do think it is the right thing to do as hard as it might be,” Wang said.
Santa Clara County Board president Cindy Chavez said she anticipates the moment she can watch her son play sports again but she said there is still so much more information that needs to be gathered before a decision is made on whether the order can be lifted, including who has antibodies.
“We’re going to have to think very carefully about how we get back, how safe it is and when we do it,” Chavez said.
Stanford University did not yet respond to KPIX for a comment and San Jose State University and the SAP Center declined to comment.
But the 49ers released in statement that said in part, “While there is much debate regarding the appropriate time for the return of sports, our intent is to exercise great patience and make the most informed decisions.”
Wang said although this means the possibility of losing the NFL pre-season and at least part of the regular season, he agrees with Smith’s opinion.
“I do think that this is the right thing to do,” said Wang.
“Unless something dramatic happens on the medical front by November we won’t have an effective simple, specific treatment,” said Smith. “We’ll be relying upon social distancing.”