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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine could see fans at games in the fall

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at the NFL's COVID-19 testing plan for the 2020 season and whether it can work and not slow down testing for cities.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he could see a possibility of having fans in the stands at sporting events in the fall.

But it’s what happens outside those events that seems to concern him the most.

DeWine told C. Trent Rosecrans of TheAthletic.com that it’s too soon to say right now when fans might be allowed to watch games in person, considering that outdoor events are generally considered safer than indoor ones.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that outside is safer than inside. It’s safer when people keep a distance, it’s safer when people wear a mask. It’s certainly not inconceivable that you could have some fans for baseball or football. It’s all a question of distance,” DeWine said. “One of the things you would worry about with football, frankly, is what’s going on outside Ohio State Stadium, for example. We’re used to 100,000 or so people at Ohio State, but then you go outside and you’ve got parties and everything going on out there. On some days, they claim to have more people outside than inside [the stadium]. That would be a real concern.

“There’s nothing real magical about this, it’s distance and covering and washing your hands, it’s really basic stuff. But it’s the gathering together. One of the things I talked about today at our press conference, is that things that seem benign to people seem risk-free that at a regular time is pretty risk-free, for example being with family or being with friends can now turn out to be very dangerous. As we’re trying to figure it out as we look at the spread of the virus, one of the common themes is people who are having casual get-togethers of 10, 20, 40 people and they may know everybody there but that doesn’t give them any protection. It’s being in close proximity to people and you just extrapolate that to a ballpark, baseball or football stadium, and the same basic principles play out. You wouldn’t want people close standing in line to get a hot dog. You’d have to have the distance between people, you’d have to mark it off, just like they mark it off at Starbucks.”

DeWine is one of the governors who has been willing to issue a mask mandate, and he said that will only increase the chances of spectator sports.

“We think we’re headed in the right direction and one of the reasons we put masks on statewide is because we’re seeing good results,” he said. “If we can get 80-85 percent of the people in this state wearing masks regularly out in public when they’re interfacing with other people and if they keep social distancing, we can knock this virus on the head, we’re not going to get rid of it, it’s going to be with us until we have a vaccine, but we can knock it in the head pretty good and it’s going to make our fall look a whole lot better.”

And that could include sports, and schools, and all the normal things in life people want so much.