We may have what the Ontario government is touting as a road map towards the resumption of our economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still have no idea when we are going to be allowed to attend a sporting event.
While the exact date remains a mystery, one look at the Ontario government’s three-phase plan to reopen the provincial economy should tell us all we need to know — it won’t be anytime soon.
In the very best case scenario, the province is still many weeks away from plodding through all three stages of the Doug Ford government’s restart plan, which will begin by allowing some businesses and outdoor spaces to open and hospitals to perform some non-urgent scheduled surgeries.
Reaching phase two means more workplaces and outdoor spaces can open and stage three would allow all businesses to open ‘responsibly’ and physical distancing measures would be further relaxed.
However, even after we successfully get through all three stages, there will still be restrictions on large public gatherings, like sporting events and concerts, for the foreseeable future.
Let’s say, for argument sake, that Ontario blitzes through stages one, two and three in eight to 10 weeks and we find ourselves somewhere in the middle of July (wishful thinking on my part) before virtually all of us are back at work again.
Leagues like the NHL and NBA postponed their seasons in mid-April, meaning that four months will have passed since they last played meaningful games, while the CFL, MLB and MLS haven’t even started their 2020 campaigns yet.
And even if sports does resume in late summer, fans won’t be allowed in to watch any games, which would greatly put a damper on the National Hockey League‘s coffers and be financially crushing to the Canadian Football League.
Maybe the bigger question for every league right now is this: even if fans were allowed to go watch a game in person, would they?
I know I wouldn’t. Not yet, anyway. Would you?