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Sharks Almost Home? County Says Pro Sports Can Resume in San Jose



The San Jose Sharks are back in San Jose!

Well, almost.

On the heels of Governor Gavin Newsom rescinding California’s stay-at-home order, Santa Clara County has returned to the Purple Tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

What does that mean for the Sharks?

“Collegiate and professional sports can resume in Santa Clara County,” James R. Williams, Santa Clara County County Counsel, said this afternoon.

The devil, however, is in the details. For example, at the moment, there’s still a mandatory travel quarantine in place that requires a 10-day quarantine for “most people” coming in from more than 150 miles away. This would seemingly apply to any visiting sports team.

There is hope though that the county might make an exception here.

“Consistent with the directive, the directive requires across-the-board testing,” Williams said. “Also requires that each of these teams ensures that their athletes and personnel are limiting their exposure to the broader community.”

The NHL, as opposed to the average person traveling into Santa Clara County, has had across-the-board testing of its players and team staff since the beginning of training camp on New Year’s Eve.

Point is, there are still hurdles to jump before the San Jose Sharks can play their 30th anniversary season at SAP Center. The announcement today might be cutting it too close to return to SAP Center by Feb. 1 or 3, scheduled now for Gila River Arena, but the Sharks’ next home dates, Feb. 13 and 15 against the Anaheim Ducks, could be a realistic target.

Whatever happens, it’s just the Sharks coming back to SAP Center. It’ll be a while yet before fans are allowed back in.

“We were encouraged to see new health directives issued today, which provide a roadmap to allow contact sports to resume in Santa Clara County,” the San Jose Sharks said in a statement. “We are reviewing the directive in hope that we can bring our players and staff home as soon as possible. Furthermore, we will continue to offer our support to the County in their efforts against the pandemic.”

At least now, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the Sharks, now on Day 27 of their road trip which started in Arizona for training camp, and has taken them through St. Louis, St. Paul, and now, Denver.

In the big picture, this also means there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the County of Santa Clara. But there’s still a lot of darkness to go.

“While we have made progress since the beginning of January,” Williams noted, “we are still nowhere out of the woods. We still have a much higher level of hospitalizations and cases in Santa Clara County than we did going into the Thanksgiving break.

“We still have seriously-impacted hospitals and ICU capacity.

“This is not a time for our community to be less vigilant.”

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