Ohio governor questions holding August Hall of Fame weekend
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday it’s “highly unlikely” that crowds of 20,000 or so would be allowed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame game and induction ceremony in August.
“If the question was could that event occur today, the answer would be no. It would be extremely dangerous,” DeWine said.
The hall is still evaluating its options and said no decisions have been made about the Aug. 6 game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium between Dallas and Pittsburgh, nor for the enshrinements two nights later.
“From the moment the Pro Football Hall of Fame closed its door in mid-March along with other businesses adhering to state guidelines for combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rich Desrosiers, vice president of communications and public relations at hall, “it has always been the hall’s position that its summer slate of events would be held only in a manner safe for all participants, spectators, our Hall of Famers, staff, and the thousands of volunteers who make Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls possible.
“The governor did not speak specifically to holding the game or related events with reduced crowds or at venues set up to maximize safe physical distancing — contingencies the Hall has been working on since mid-March.”
The hall reopened to a limited number of fans last week.
“We’re still 51 days from the scheduled Hall of Fame game …” Desrosiers added. “Our state has moved strongly in a positive direction related to COVID-19 over the past 51 days, having flattened the curve for infection rates while increasing the availability of testing, so we all should be encouraged by that progress.
“The hall and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce have stayed in contact with the National Football League, the governor’s office and numerous health officials to make informed decisions regarding enshrinement week. … We will continue to do so, always keeping the health and welfare of everyone involved in our events the top priority.”
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