- The NFL has experienced a slew of problems this week related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The latest issue has popped up in San Francisco where the 49ers will not be able to play at Levi’s Stadium due to Santa Clara County pandemic mitigation regulations.
- The Niners will most likely have to find not only a venue to play two games but also a practice facility.
The NFL has had plenty of COVID-19 related issues this week but on Saturday they encountered a new one. Due to regulations issued by Santa Clara County it looks as if the San Francisco 49ers will have to find somewhere to play their next two home games. In addition, the new regulations will prohibit the Niners from practicing at their team facility for at least the next three weeks.
Nowhere in the country has as many grandstanding politicians at all levels of government than California and with the COVID-19 pandemic resurging they’re tripping all over each other trying to come up with the most restrictive measures. Never mind that many of the more draconian regulations have dubious efficacy–it’s more about demonstrating that they can control the lives of their subjects…er…constituents than any actual public health concern.
We’ve got quarantines, curfews and capacity limits–but wait–there’s more! Santa Clara County has issued a mandatory quarantine order for those traveling into the region from more than 150 miles away! But that’s not all! There’s a three-week ban on all professional, collegiate and high school sports! Here’s how The Mercury News outlined the new restrictions:
Santa Clara County’s new restrictions will include a 14-day quarantine for all those traveling to the county from more than 150 miles away, as well as a temporary prohibition on sporting activities involving contact with other people — including professional sports like the San Francisco 49ers football team. Cardrooms must temporarily close, while hotels and other facilities must be open only for essential travel or to facilitate isolation or quarantine.
The new directives will go into effect on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and last until at least Dec. 21, a time period of three weeks, though they may be extended again.
County CEO Jeff Smith is thrilled to throw his weight around and put the kibosh on pro sports even though there’s no evidence whatsoever that playing pro football without fans in the stadium does anything to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19:
The order’s executive summary refers to “all recreational activities that involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports,” but does not specify whether any sports will be exempt from the temporary ban.
County CEO Jeff Smith clarified to this news organization that the order includes football, basketball, soccer and hockey — in other words, the 49ers and the San Jose Sharks hockey team — but that tennis and swimming are exempt because they do not involve direct contact between people. The county has been in touch with both professional leagues and Stanford University, a Division 1 school, he said.
“That means that for those teams, they will not be able to play games or have practices where they have direct contact,” added County Counsel James Williams.
I understand the importance of taking reasonable steps to mitigate the pandemic but this shameless display of arbitrary government power is why people are moving out of California in droves. San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy came up with this great line:
“We have not seen numbers like this in quite a while, and we really need to reverse this incredibly troubling trend. What’s important to remember is that we can reverse the trend as long as we follow common-sense health and safety practices.”
…but they’re going to throw in a bunch of arbitrary and pointless restrictions on the lives of the commoners for good measure. Never mind that the value of many are disputed by actual doctors and public health professionals.
The Niners are now trying to figure out their next move:
The team is hoping to keep their temporary practice local in hopes that players won’t have to be separated from their families during the holiday. That being said, sources have indicated that all options remain open including moving the entire football operation out of state until their overlords permit them to return home.