New York (AFP) - New York officials said Sunday that American professional sports teams can return to their training facilities in the state that was slammed the hardest of all by the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement, saying that sports are allowed to restart in America's most deadly state but it will be limited to just training facilities to begin with and then only behind closed doors. There have been over 1.6 million cases and 97,000 deaths in the US, including close to 30,000 deaths in New York.
"Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps," Cuomo said during a news conference on Sunday.
"I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena -- do it! Do it!"
New York is by far the hardest hit state but officials say new infections are now on the downward trend.
New York serves is home to several professional sports teams, with two in the NBA (New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets), three in the NHL (New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres), two in Major League Baseball (New York Yankees, New York Mets) and the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
MLB, NBA and NHL are all working on plans to start or resume their respective seasons.
"Work out the economics, if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports," Cuomo said. "To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do.
"It's a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible. And we'll work with them to make sure that can happen."