As the United States continues to deal with the coronavirus, some states have slowly started to roll-out procedures to open back up.
On Thursday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a multi-level plan to re-open the state.
The plans will work in phases, with each phase gradually allowing more businesses to operate and loosen restrictions on social interaction.
According to Brown, during Phase I restaurants and bars can open for limited in-person dining, salons and gyms can operate with physical distancing and sanitation guidelines, and gatherings of up-to 25 people will be permitted.
The re-opening will be on a county-by-county basis and can start as early as May 15th.
The last phase of the process is Phase III, which would allow sporting events and concerts to start up again. However, Brown hinted in official documents that that phase won't happen anytime soon. In fact, Brown has called for the canceling of all sports events and large social gatherings through at least September.
Concerts, conventions, festivals, live audience sports won’t be possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. It is unknown at this time when this will be. Therefore, all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September. Further guidance on large gatherings scheduled for later in the fall will be provided this summer. - Oregon Governor Kate Brown
READ GOVERNOR BROWN'S FULL RELEASE HERE
So, how does this impact the local sports scene?
Let's first look at the NBA, which postponed its season in early March. Should they return to play the remainder of the season and the playoffs, there is a chance the Trail Blazers could be playing games in September.
If that's the case, and the league doesn't play at one central location as has been discussed, then you will have to watch the Blazers play on TV inside an empty Moda Center. If this season gets canceled, but next season starts normally with pre-season games in October, then there is still a chance no fans will be allowed in the arena.
Local universities will likely be impacted should the NCAA Football season go on as scheduled. Both Oregon and Oregon State have four games scheduled for the month of September, with both teams playing three of those four games at home.
Oregon State starts the season on the road at Oklahoma State on Thursday, September 3rd, but the next three Saturdays they play at Reser Stadium.
As for the Ducks, they start their season with three-straight home games, none bigger than the September 12th matchup against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes vs the Ducks is one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups in the entire country this season, and under the current guidelines set forth by Governor Brown, that matchup could happen inside an empty Autzen Stadium.
Even the Vikings will be impacted, with one home game currently scheduled in September, and one of their road games that month being against the Beavers in Corvallis.
On the pitch, both the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers had home games scheduled in September prior to their respective seasons being postponed. With MLS now allowing teams to hold individual workouts, a return to play could be in the future. A return to play means both teams would presumedly have home games scheduled in September and would have to join their local sports counterparts in playing inside empty stadiums.
On Thursday, the Timber/Thorns released the following statement:
The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC have been in constant dialogue with state, county and city officials throughout the pandemic and were aware of the work being done on large public event guidelines that the governor issued today. While we remain hopeful there is a path forward to play in front of our supporters in 2020, we have kept our fans and annual members apprised of their options given the possibility of a full season not being played. Annual members will have the opportunity to rollover their funds with added benefits to 2021 for any missed matches, or may opt for a refund. The Timbers and Thorns have been diligent in our adherence to the advice of local public health authorities and government agencies throughout the crisis and will continue to do so with the safety and well-being of our fans, staff and players as the clubs’ highest priority. - Portland Timbers/Thorns
Of course, things could take a turn for the better and Brown could adjust these dates back earlier, but as for now, fans will have to live with the realistic possibility of watching their favorite teams from the comfort of their home while those teams play in empty stadiums.