Will Los Angeles COVID-19 Guidelines Impact Pac-12 Football Teams?

How do these new rules and guidelines effect college football teams in LA county?
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On Friday, Los Angeles county announced a new suggested stay at home order for Los Angeles residents. The order will go into effect Monday, November 30th and last until at least December 20th. The new restrictions ban most all public and private gatherings except for religious services and protests which are protected under the constitution. Essential retailers must reduce their capacity to 35%, non-essential businesses to 20%, personal care services 20%, and outdoor fitness classes and museums will be limited to 50% capacity. Outdoor recreation activities such as beaches, trails and parks will remain open, however, gatherings with members outside of your household are not permitted and face coverings are required.  

On Wednesday, Los Angeles county closed outdoor dining, leaving restaurants to offer only takeout and delivery options. This decision was made after Los Angeles county surpassed 4,500 COVID-19 cases within five consecutive days. Additionally, a curfew was put in place last week, as CBS news reports,

"California is imposing a nighttime curfew starting [last] Saturday as spiking COVID-19 cases threaten to swamp health care systems and the state's largest county warned that an even more drastic lockdown could be imminent.

The newest restrictions require people not on essential errands to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through December 21, with a possible extension if rapidly worsening trends don't improve. People will be allowed to shop for groceries, pick up food and even walk their dogs."

[READ: USC vs. Colorado Game Cancels]

So how do these new rules and guidelines effect college football teams in LA county?

Well, there are two Pac-12 teams in the Los Angeles area, the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans. The Trojans already saw some shifts within their schedule as the USC vs. Washington State game was suppose to kick off at 6:30 PM but was moved to a 6:00 PM start to accommodate Los Angeles county's new 10:00 pm curfew. 

USC's next game against the Washington State Cougars is already in jeopardy. Although USC has only confirmed a few COVID-19 cases, they will need enough healthy athletes to play their second to last game of the season next Friday. However, the bigger topic of concern is if Los Angeles county's new ban on public and private gatherings will effect LA based college football teams. 

Per Ryan Kartje of the LA Times, 

If Los Angeles county restricts football games for the rest of the year then UCLA and USC may have two options. 

#1. There is a possibility of finding a venue outside of the Los Angeles area to play their final two games of the season. Even though next week's game for the UCLA Bruins is still up in the air due to the Arizona State Sun Devils having COVID-19 cases within their football program, finding an alternate venue for the last two games of the season could be a viable option. The question remains though if the Trojans and Bruins would be able to practice in LA leading up to each game. 

#2. If LA county decides to ban football games for the rest of the season and both teams cannot find alternative solutions, then it is very possible that UCLA and USC's 2020 seasons could end earlier than expected. 

- This article was updated on November 28th 3:15 PM -

Per Kyle Bonagura of ESPN, the Los Angeles stay at home order will not impact pro and college sports. Teams will be able to stick with the current protocols that are in place. Bonagura spoke with Los Angeles County public health director, Dr. Barbra Ferrer, who said, 

"We haven't changed the protocols for the pro spots teams. Obviously, they are under extraordinary strict protocols right now. A lot of that is through their own associations but they also have the county's protocols that they need to adhere to and we're in constant contact with them so they know their obligations. They are and will remain spectator-free. 

Collegiate sports, we align with the state's collegiate sports guidance, which here is a directive. But it's fully aligned with the state. Should the state change their guidance then we at the local level will change with the state. I do want to note that we have worked very closely with all of our colleges and universities and I want to thank them. I want to thank our major sports teams. They're in constant contact with our teams here. I feel like this relationship has been very beneficial. Everyone knows that if you have positive cases, whether you're a pro team or you're a college team, you need to report those cases to us and we work with you on the outbreak [to] manage plans, to try and avoid as much spread as possible."

[READ: How To Watch: Pac-12 Football Games November 28th]

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