COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The future of sporting events in Ohio, including the upcoming Buckeyes’ football season, remains uncertain as the state moves closer to resuming normal activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his Thursday press briefing, Governor Mike DeWine said several large gatherings would be amongst the last to resume.
“Your bigger events — your concerts, your fairs, your sporting events — those are going to be tougher,” DeWine said. “Those are going to be toward the end of the openings because this is groups coming together. While we want to be able to provide safe places for people to work, we want to get the economy moving again, all that pretty much goes out the window when you’re mixing people together in a small facility.”
In recent days, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said he did not see how playing football in the fall would be safe for players if it was not safe for fans to watch.
On Wednesday, several College Football Playoff members told Vice President Mike Pence that they did not support playing football if college campuses remained closed.
In the area surrounding Ohio Stadium, several business owners said they were preparing for a possible drop in sales in case the season was cancelled or delayed.
“At this point, I mean all things considered, it wouldn’t surprise us if they cancelled football,” said Jimmy Barouxis, owner of Buckeye Donuts. “We almost expect it at this point and we’ll make whatever adjustments are needed if that situation does arise.”
Quinn Allen recently purchased The Library on North High Street. He told NBC4 that he projected gameday sales would equal about 60 or 70 percent of the bar’s annual sales.
Despite the possibility of no OSU football, he is confident his business will survive.
“You can’t waste your time on things you can’t control,” he said. “You’ve got to wait to see what’s going to happen and then you pivot and you work off those opportunities as they’re presented to you.”
There is no word on when a decision regarding football season, or any large scale event, will be made.