While the 49ers preseason doesn’t start until August, the team and its staff are already making moves to make sure fans will be able to attend. Earlier this month, the 49ers created a medical advisory committee to figure out the best way to bring fans back safely.
“As vaccinations continue and preparations begin for the return of fans at Levi’s Stadium, we want to set the standard for safety, and this committee of esteemed medical experts will help us to do just that,” said 49ers President Al Guido. “With the help of this committee, we hope to make informed, equitable, and transparent choices to protect not just our fans but our employees and the local community as well.”
The committee will consist of medical professionals who have worked on the frontlines battling COVID-19, including Dr. Robert Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF; Lloyd Dean, CEO of CommonSpirit Health (parent company of Dignity Health); Dr. Monica Gandhi; and Dr. Lillian Brown, who both specialize in HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital.
“I’m looking forward to working with the 49ers on these important issues around a safe reopening,” said Dr. Gandhi. “We’ll need to make sure the return of fans not only protects the fans but is safe for everyone involved — including the employees of Levi’s Stadium and the local community.”
“The more groups that operate under public health best practices, the better,” said Dr. Brown. “Our aim is to produce important insights and determine protocols that can be used as standards for stadiums across the country.”
The formation of the medical advisory committee coincides with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement regarding pro sports. Earlier this month, the Gov. Newsom said that if the downward trend in COVID-19 cases and the upward trend of vaccines continues statewide, fans could be back in time for Major League Baseball’s opening day on April 1.
“We have confidence that when you look forward to April opening day, where we are likely to be if we all do our job and we don’t let down our guard and spike the ball — wrong sport, but you get the point. Then I [have] all the confidence in the world fans will be back safely in a lot of those outdoor venues,” said Newsom.
California’s COVID-19 guidelines would have to be updated to allow fans back into stadiums, even at limited capacity.
Santa Clara County is currently vaccinating people 16-65 with qualifying high-risk medical conditions or disabilities. First responders, essential workers and people over the age of 75 who were in the first group of people to receive the vaccine are now starting to receive their second dose.
To find out the latest on when and where you can receive your COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.sccfreevax.org.