CANTON, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said it is unlikely the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be able to have its game and enshrinement ceremony with fans present during the coroanvirus pandemic.
The preseason NFL game between the Steelers and the Cowboys is scheduled for Aug. 8 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which holds 23,000 people. The enshrinement is two days later.
“As much as I hate to say this, because we’ve all been looking forward to that and I know how much it means to the Canton area and the Stark County area, and really across the country,” DeWine said. “Having a crowd that size is highly unlikely. Certainly it could not occur today, it would be very dangerous to do it today.”
The governor said we will have to see where we are with the virus over the next several weeks.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said they’ve had regular conversations with the Hall on alternative plans and what a successful event could look like amid COVID-19.
Broadening the conversation to other sports, DeWine said Major League Baseball’s elaborate plan to resume games without fans, “makes sense.” The season is in limbo as talks between the league and the players’ union stalled.
As more businesses in Ohio have reopened, DeWine repeatedly stated the last thing to resume would be events with big crowds, particularly large crowds close together.