Phillies: Gov. Tom Wolf allows professional sports to resume

A general view of empty seats. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
A general view of empty seats. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images) /

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has granted permission for professional sports to resume; for the Phillies, as early as next Friday.

The next big step for Philadelphia Phillies games being played in South Philadelphia took place Wednesday evening, as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf updated his guidance on professional sports.

In collaboration with Pennsylvania’s professional sports teams, Gov. Wolf announced a path for competition to resume.

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“Professional sports, defined as any sporting event at which the participants are paid by a league or team, or at which individuals or teams receive prizes or purse, are allowed to practice or play in the yellow and green phases of reopening without on-site or venue spectators if the team (or league on behalf of the team) has developed a COVID-19 safety plan,” the press release states.

The Phillies’ COVID-19 safety and reopening plan must first be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, “testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel.”

In addition, no fans or spectators are permitted inside or outside Citizens Bank Park. There is no timetable as to when that restriction would be lifted.

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This announcement is key, in that if MLB and the MLBPA strike a deal, the Phillies are able to hold “Spring Training 2.0” at their home stadium, as previously reported, rather than down in Clearwater. Also, they are given the green light to start playing regular season games, without fans and without restriction, come the rumored July start date.

Philadelphia is set to enter the yellow reopening phase next Friday, June 5.

Also, Gov. Wolf announced on Wednesday that outdoor dining can also resume in the state once counties are in the yellow phase of his reopening plan.

The announcement comes just one day after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy similarly allowed professional sports can resume in the Garden State. The Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers’ practice facilities are located in Voorhees and Camden, respectively. The Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, meanwhile, are based in South Philadelphia.

This is certainly positive news. However, everything is still up in the air, with a deal not yet agreed upon between the MLB and MLBPA. Time will tell if a 2020 season takes place.