Leaders in the film, sports, theme park, business and restaurant industries this week presented detailed plans for reopening to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, urging county officials to allow them to move as quickly as safely possible.
Members of the Economic Resiliency Task Force have been working for weeks with other industry representatives, including unions, on safety guidelines and best practices.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who chairs the committee, began by offering her support for peaceful protests in the name of George Floyd, whose in-custody death in Minneapolis has sparked demonstrations across the U.S. And around the world.
“This board is committed to protecting the right of protesters to exercise their First Amendment right,” Barger said. “I want to remind everyone that it is our vulnerable communities who are experiencing the most severe health and economic impacts of this virus. Family-owned businesses have the smallest margin of error to financially recover … More than 75 percent of projected jobs lost will be from those making less than $50,000 per year.”
Casey Wasserman, chairman and CEO of Wasserman Media Group, led off with a vision for the region’s major sports teams.
“The opportunity for teams to open their practice facilities and compete without fans in their venues is both eminently doable and culturally and economically vital to the county,” Wasserman said. “I would just equate it to opening a restaurant without customers. Playing baseball at Dodger Stadium with no fans is a quite straightforward proposition.”
The 26-page sports plan reflects input from every major venue and operator, all of whom are also working on individual plans, and is meant to lay out a baseline of safety guidelines, Wasserman said. Some details, like testing for players, will rely on collective bargaining between the players and management.
It will be fall before the teams consider more specifically how to address fans in arenas, but Wasserman said venues were highly capable of controlling the flow of people and maintaining social distancing.
Task force members had different perspectives on the availability of personal protective equipment to keep workers safe. Wasserman said operators of sports venues are confident that they have enough supplies to support plans even today.