Baker to sign executive order that will allow pro sports teams to start practicing again

BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday announced that he intends to sign an executive order next week that will allow professional sports teams in Massachusetts to resume practicing with safety precautions in place to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

“We’ve had very positive conversations with sports teams like the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox, and Revolution,” Baker said during a news conference at the State House. “We will allow professional sports teams to begin practicing at their facilities in compliance with the health and safety rules that all of the leagues are developing.”

Facilities and stadiums will remain closed to the public at this time.

“I know we are not to the point where we will have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet. The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again, and I think that we all hope at some point that opening practice facilities may help make that happen a little sooner.”

Baker’s four-phase plan to a “new normal” does not allow for the reopening of large venues until Phase 4, which at the earliest would come in July.

“You know, there are only so many times you can actually watch the Patriots beat the Falcons, or the Celtics beat the Lakers, or the Bruins beat the Canucks, or the Red Sox beat the Yankees or the Cardinals or the Angels,” Baker said. “At some point, it has to be live. I think for all of us, live sports and especially pro sports, would be a great thing to see again.”

Baker said that his executive order will allow restaurants and other businesses that are slated to partially reopen under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan to have employees start to return to work without customers.

Baker said he will announce on Monday a detailed list of sectors that fall into each phase of the reopening plan.

Phase 2 would begin on June 8, as long as all key coronavirus data, including positive test rates, hospitalization rates, ICU capacity, and fatalities continue to trend in the right direction.

Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks and could last longer before moving to the next phase, depending upon what public health data trends indicate, according to Baker.

Phase 1 was launched on May 18.

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