More and more states, cities, and communities are opening outdoor and indoor events to paying spectators despite continued COVID-19 concerns.
During a Thursday appearance on ESPN's "First Take," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that the existence of at least three coronavirus vaccines should permit growing numbers of fans to safely attend sporting events over the next several months.
"I hope by the time we get to the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall, we'll be very close to what we would consider 'normal.'"— First Take (@FirstTake) March 11, 2021
Dr. Fauci is optimistic about higher fan attendance at sporting events. pic.twitter.com/vvY1wCDhyG
Fauci added that a so-called "return to normal" will be "gradual" depending on how many people are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines. He also said that Americans should expect to wear masks in public for the foreseeable future.
The Texas Rangers raised eyebrows on Wednesday when they announced that they intend to welcome fans to Globe Life Field at 100% capacity for their home Opening Day on April 5. Meanwhile, the Alabama Crimson Tide, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns are planning to fill football stadiums to their capacities in September.
Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker said in February he thinks there's a "good shot" the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 5 will be the NFL's first event inside a stadium filled to 100% capacity since the pandemic hit the United States last year.