Don't expect to see the San Jose Sharks or the San Francisco 49ers playing any home games before Thanksgiving.
That was the message Tuesday from Santa Clara County's chief executive officer, Dr. Jeffrey Smith, at a board of supervisors meeting held online Tuesday.
"I'm sorry to say, I don't expect to have any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we'd be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving," Smith said. "This is not something that's going to be easy to do."
All major North American sports leagues are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, with restart dates uncertain. However, President Donald Trump said last week that he would like to see fans in the stands at games by August or September, and he believes the NFL should be able to start on time.
The NFL season is due to kick off on Sept. 10.
Santa Clara County was among the nation's first areas to shut down all mass gatherings in the early days of the pandemic's outbreak in the United States, making the announcement on March 10. There initially was talk that the Sharks might play home games behind closed doors starting March 19, but the NHL suspended its season on March 12.
As of March 10, one person in Santa Clara County had died of COVID-19, and 43 had tested positive. As of Wednesday evening, the county's website reported that 46 people had died of the coronavirus among 1,380 who had tested positive.
Smith said the county shouldn't be hasty about lifting its ban on large events.
"There will definitely be individuals who will get sick," Smith said. "And because there are individuals who get sick, there will be individuals who die after the order is released, unless we come up with a foolproof immunization, which is highly unlikely."
The 49ers declined to comment on Smith's Tuesday statement, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In addition to the 49ers and Sharks, Santa Clara County is home to the San Jose Earthquakes and three NCAA Division I athletics programs: Stanford, San Jose State and Santa Clara.
--Field Level Media