Cal Football: Bears Keep a Close Eye on Santa Clara County COVID Response

Stanford announces plans to move to the Pacific Northwest for two weeks
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On Tuesday morning, just hours before rival Stanford’s football team announced it will relocate to the Pacific Northwest for two weeks, Cal coach Justin Wilcox said he understands the possible impact of new COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County.

“We’re well aware of what’s happening,” Wilcox said.

Santa Clara County, home to Stanford of the Pac-12 Conference, San Jose State of the Mountain West and Santa Clara of the West Coast Conference, unveiled tough, new policies that went into effect Tuesday.

They include a three-week ban on all professional, college and high school sports, which prompted Stanford’s trek north. The Cardinal will live and practice in Seattle before Saturday’s game at Washington, then move to Corvallis, Ore, the following week in advance of its Dec. 12 game at Oregon State.

Every Bay Area county, with the exception of Marin, is now in the purple tier, meaning the virus is considered widespread.

Santa Clara’s sanctions also involve a 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling to the county from more than 150 miles away.

The restrictions also have the 49ers planning to move its next two “home” games to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home to its NFL West rival, the Arizona Cardinals. The new rules also are wreaking havoc on college basketball teams, now prevented from both practicing and playing games.

Wilcox seems to understand that the prohibitions could spread to Alameda County if health officials see virus cases continuing to rise. Santa Clara was the first of Bay Area countries to respond to the pandemic last spring, and others quickly followed with their own restrictions and protocols.

Cal has three football games remaining on its schedule: Saturday at home against Oregon, Dec. 12 at Washington State, and Dec. 19 against an opponent (and location) still to be determined.

“There’s a lot of discussions with the athletic director and people in the department to try to be prepared for what could come down the pipe,” Wilcox said, before directing questions toward athletic director Jim Knowlton.

“But we’re well aware of what’s happening and what that could potentially mean to the schools in Santa Clara County. We’ll be prepared as best we can.”

Cal and Stanford played the 123rd Big Game at Berkeley last Friday without fans at Memorial Stadium. Spectators also were prohibited from climbing Tightwad Hill to view he game from above the north end of the stadium but at least 50 of them moved far enough up the hill to watch the game.

Wilcox was careful when asked his thoughts about that.

“I empathize with everybody out there who’s dealing with what we’re all going through,” he said, adding that Cal’s coaches and players are fortunate to be able to work and compete.

“I’m not here to give directives to people. I think that’s for others. We appreciate our fans and are looking forward to everybody being able to come back in the stadium as soon as possible whenever it’s determined that’s the right thing to do.”

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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