Whitmer allows for pro sports without fans
By: Mike Stiles - Friday, June 26, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (file photo courtesy of State of Michigan)

(LANSING) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer granted permission Thursday for professional sports to return "without a live audience," following Major League Baseball's announcement that players would report to their home ballparks next week for spring training and a 60-game season set to begin in late July. "Good news, sports fans," Whitmer said in a statement. "We are now ready to gradually and safely allow professional sports to resume in Michigan. While this is an encouraging step in the reopening of our economy, it is critical for athletes to continue social distancing and taking precautions to stay safe." Under the executive order that Whitmer signed Thursday, professional sports training and competitions can resume as long as the activities are conducted under a safety plan that's consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, according to the statement. Participants must also stay 6 feet apart to "the extent compatible with the sport," it states. The governor's order prohibits spectators except for staff of the facility and working media. The order states that any willful violation would constitute a misdemeanor. As part of its return-to-play protocol, MLB devised a more than 100-page manual that covers travel, COVID-19 testing, social distancing measures, sanitation of equipment and protection for players, staff and others with whom they may come in contact. A spokeswoman for Whitmer did not immediately answer a question Thursday as to whether the governor had seen MLB's plan.