Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs order allowing professional sports to return without fans

Detroit Tigers set to report to second round of spring training next week

Comerica Park | Photo: Jarrod R./Yelp (Photo: Jarrod R./Yelp)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order allowing professional sports to return to the state without fans.

The announcement comes just two days after Major League Baseball announced it will begin a 60-game season in late July. The Detroit Tigers are set to begin a second round of spring training on Wednesday (July 1) in Detroit.

MLB and the Players Association released an intensive list of coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocols teams must follow to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

Whitmer made the announcement by signing executive order 2020-133, which sets guidelines for professional sports to return safely, specifically without live audiences.

“Good news, sports fans: We are now ready to gradually and safely allow professional sports to resume in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “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. We want to keep our momentum going and keep moving forward, so it’s incumbent on everyone doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Professional athletes can now resume training with their teams and competing in games, as long as safe COVID-19 guidelines are followed. Everyone involved much stay six feet away from each other as much as the sport allows.

Under Executive Order 2020-13, professional sports training and competitions can resume as long as the activities are conducted pursuant to a COVID-19 safety plan that is consistent with any guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Participants must also maintain six feet of distance from one another to the extent compatible with the sport.

“No live audiences are allowed, except for staff of the facility at which a sporting event is held and media personnel reporting on, filming or otherwise documenting the sporting event,” Whitmer’s executive order says.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.