President Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he favors reopening American businesses soon, telling NBC Sunday that he looks forward to the day when “tens of thousands” of fans attend sports events without masks.
But just a few hours later, Jerome Powell, the man Trump appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve, expressed skepticism that day would come anytime soon, saying sports and other events “will be among the last things that can be resumed.” In a “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley, Powell pointed out that businesses, especially those that thrive on having large numbers of people in one place, would struggle until there is a vaccine, which is not likely to be available soon.
“The parts that involve people being in the same place very close together – those parts of the economy will be challenged until people feel really safe again,” he said.
Asked whether he meant sports events and theaters, he replied, “I would think those would be very difficult.”
The larger issue for sports and other businesses, such as the airline industry, is when people feel secure. Some sports, such as golf and auto racing, returned to live TV over the weekend, with plans for more events, without fans in attendance. A Washington, D.C., native, Powell roots for the NHL’s Capitals, whose season was suspended March 12 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The league and the NHL Players Association reportedly are working on a plan to finish out the season with a 24-team format, but will fans return immediately to games? Powell was asked when, as a fan, he would be comfortable attending a Capitals game.
“Certainly no sooner than next season,” he said. “Generally, public sporting events, public concerts and things like that, those will be among the last things that can be resumed.”
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · Cindy Boren