New York Governor: Pro Sports Teams Should Plan to Reopen in Empty Stadiums

By WCBS Newsradio 880

If you're missing watching live sports, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo feels your pain.

"You know, I'm watching the reruns right now of the old classic games and that's fun," the governor said.

But he misses the real thing, so he's encouraging pro sports teams to get back into action and plan reopenings without fans.

"The games could be televised and New York State will help those major franchises to do just that," Cuomo said. "Whoever can reopen we are a ready, willing and able partner... Come back. The state will work with you."

Cuomo made it clear that while he wants to watch the Buffalo Bills, he is still objective and there is no personal agenda.

"I think this is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest in the State of New York," said Cuomo. "Even though I do have a coincident personal agenda because I want to watch the Bills but they are separate agends."

He admits the leagues will have to look at the economics.

"Some sports actually rely more on the televised income than the stadium arena income, but if they can make the numbers work I say great," Cuomo said. "Why wait until you can fill a stadium before you start to bring the team back and if you can televise it in the meantime, great."

Cuomo publicly confirmed Monday that he has tested negative for COVID-19 a day after a doctor swabbed him on live TV during his daily briefing.

"When you find out you're negative it's a nice sense of relief," he said as he opened his daily briefing Monday. He used the demonstration to encourage New Yorkers to get tested. "There's no reason why people shouldn't be getting tested. We actually have now more testing capacity than we are using at many of our sites."

Cuomo reported that the total coronavirus hospitalizations, intubations, and new cases are down slightly. The state reports 106 new deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 22,725.

Twenty-three of the newly reported deaths were in nursing homes, which have been hit hard by the virus.

Cuomo said protecting senior citizens and nursing homes is the state's top priority. As a result, the state is requiring all nursing home staff to be tested for the virus twice a week. To help facilitate that, New York is sending 320,000 testing kits to nursing homes statewide.

The governor also announced that Western New York has now identified their tracing army, making them eligible to start easing restrictions. The region is set to begin Phase 1 of reopening on Tuesday.

Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions have already started the gradual process of reopening. The Capital region is expected to be next but must finalize its testing and tracing plan before it can start easing restrictions. Judges and staff will be returning to courthouses in 30 upstate counties this week.

Cuomo’s plan allows construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, manufacturing and wholesale trade businesses to start reopening in the first phase. Retail stores can also provide curbside or in-store pickup or drop-off.