Coronavirus: Newsom pessimistic about return of 'mass gatherings' amid COVID-19

"Mass gatherings" such as sports events, concerts and fairs are unlikely to resume this summer for Californians amid the coronavirus pandemic.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday "mass gatherings" such as sports events, concerts and fairs are unlikely to resume this summer for Californians amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to a detailed plan to modify California's statewide coronavirus restrictions, Newsom stated during his daily press briefing that there would be no large-scale events until there is herd immunity and/or a vaccine. This could be months away or longer.

"Large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers altogether across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations," he said.

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California has not yet established a timeline for lifting public health restrictions, Newsom said, adding that the prospect of mass gatherings is "negligible at best."

"When you suggest June, July, August, it is unlikely," he said.

If construction on SoFi Stadium in Inglewood is completed on time, singer Taylor Swift was slated to open the venue with a concert on July 25. Given Newsom's announcement, the possibility of that concert moving forward as planned appears to be unlikely.

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Meanwhile, earlier this month the Rams Chief Operating Officer said he was optimistic that the stadium would be completed by the upcoming NFL season. However, he added that given the COVID-19 outbreak, the timeline for the project was not ideal as it requires all-hands-on-deck.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, a Republican member of the Budget Committee, agreed with Newsom that more time is needed to gather data before beginning to roll back elements of the stay-at-home order. But if the trends on case numbers continue, he said "I think we really need to start moving toward opening up."

"The damage on the economic side has been significant, and that's a public health concern as well," said Gallagher, who represents a district in the state's Central Valley.

The state Legislature on Thursday will have its first oversight hearing into how Newsom has handled the coronavirus response. Following Newsom's announcement Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Los Angeles-area Democrat, said the state "must take steps that are at once decisive and responsive to the changing conditions of the COVID crisis."

"That's what today's guidelines represent," he said.

California's local governments have been the front-line responders to the crisis. Some, like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area counties, have taken more aggressive approaches than called for in Newsom's stay-at-home order, in some cases requiring the public to wear face masks.

RELATED: Stricter mask rules taking effect in many SoCal cities

In Los Angeles as of last Friday, masks are now legally required, not just recommended, when visiting businesses such as grocery stores that remain open to the public. Both customers and workers at those businesses must wear face coverings under an order from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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