KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As sports leagues navigate returning to play this summer and fall, Kansas City, Missouri’s top doctor is optimistic fans will get a taste of the action.
Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said Wednesday he’s been in communication with the Kansas City Royals about their plans for games.
The team has already returned to workouts at Kauffman Stadium, and despite a handful of players testing positive for COVID-19, Archer believes the team has resources that allow them approach the games in the safest way possible.
According to the Royals schedule released Monday, the team will resume play on July 24 in Cleveland. The team won’t play its first home game until July 31 against the Chicago White Sox.
“I think Major League Baseball has a good chance of being able to start up in August,” Archer said. “There’s a lot of discussions that we’ve been working on and planning this for several months, and we’re hoping that maybe sometime there will be an announcement.”
Archer’s comments come the same day the Kansas City Chiefs announced a plan to accommodate fans in a reduced seating capacity at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs said they are also working with local health officials to determine guidelines for fans attending games.
The Chiefs are set to open the regular season on Sept. 9, hosting the Houston Texans.
Earlier this month, the Royals said they remained hopeful fans could return to Kauffman Stadium in some fashion at some point in the season, though details were still being worked out.
While Archer remains optimistic about the prospect of some professional sports, his main concern is youth sports.
“We’ve got a problem across the state right now where we’re seeing outbreaks in a number of youth activities and youth sports,” Archer said. “Where we used to have very few cases of COVID-19 in folks under 20, we’re now seeing them in the 10-19 age group.”
One of Archer’s concerns is that while professional leagues have additional resources to help with testing and contact tracing, those resources aren’t as available in youth sports.
“Youth sports right now is a concern and they don’t have the sources to be testing every kid every day,” he said.