After the Oklahoma Sooners became the latest school to announce on Friday that they intend to play football in the fall with a full capacity crowd on hand, Ohio State fans are wondering when similar news may come to watch their beloved Buckeyes.
Ohio governor Mike DeWine seems optimistic that things are trending that direction in Columbus.
DeWine met with reporters on Friday afternoon following an appearance in Cleveland, during which he addressed Ohio's CoVID-19 response. With Major League Baseball's Opening Day just a few short weeks away, DeWine said he's hopeful that stadium will be full sooner than later.
"I've described Opening Day in Cleveland -- Indians at 30 percent capacity, but we could be moving away from that by May 1," DeWine told WKYC's Ben Axelrod. "I would hope by the time we get to July 4, we might be full capacity."
After Texas and Mississippi ended statewide mask mandates earlier this week, DeWine was asked on Thursday if such a circumstance would be coming to Ohio anytime soon. Despite the progress Ohio has made in the fight against CoVID-19, he made it clear he's not ready to consider that quite yet.
"My job is to be the governor of the state of Ohio and I'm going to focus on Ohio and we're to follow the science," DeWine said Thursday while speaking at Cleveland State University. "The science clearly tells us that these masks work phenomenally well. One of the things that we've learned these past few months is just how powerful masks are.
"Interestingly, the place where we've really really seen this is our schools. We've seen virtually no spread in the classroom with kids, even if they're less than six feet apart, if they're all wearing masks, there's been virtually no spread. That's what principals have been telling us for months, that's what superintendents have been telling us for months. After hearing that, we went into the schools, we did some testing in seven different schools and it came out overwhelmingly that it was very abundantly clear that we're not seeing a spread. Our ticket out is to continue to wear this mask and to vaccinate. So it's vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, wear masks -- that's how we get out of this."
DeWine also said on Thursday that he would no longer enforce all CoVID-19-related health orders (including the mask mandate) as soon as Ohio falls below a 50 positive cases per 100,000 people threshold for two consecutive weeks.
"The end of our fight is now in view, but we must continue pressing forward in these final days," he said. "We must not relent."
In the meantime, given that the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds will safely host fans in a few weeks, it's looking promising that Ohio State football will play in front of a crowd next fall.
Ohio State's home-opener next fall is Saturday, Sept. 11 against Oregon.
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