COVID-19 hurdle to SoFi Stadium opening



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SoFi Stadium update April 2020 Image: LA Rams

The grand opening of SoFi Stadium – the stadium and entertainment complex under construction in Inglewood, California, US, will not take place as originally scheduled for July 2020 due to the growing menace of coronavirus which is taking the United States by storm. The advanced arena will be the future residence of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams.

The Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team that currently plays and competes in the National Football League (NFL). The Los Angeles Rams are a professional American football team based in the

Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Rams also compete in the National Football League (NFL).

Recently, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift postponed two concerts set to take place on July 25 and July 26 that would have served as the first public events held at the venue. Those were the first events on the SoFi Stadium calendar.

Said Swift in a statement, “Fighting COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for our global community and the safety and well-being of fans should always be top priority. Health organizations and Governments around the world have strongly discouraged public gatherings for an unprecedented period of time. With many events throughout the world already canceled, and upon direction from health officials in an effort to keep fans safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, sadly the decision has been made to cancel all Taylor Swift live appearances and performances this year.”

Swift also noted that dates in the United States and Brazil would receive makeup dates in 2021.

The postponed shows in Los Angeles further shrouds in uncertainty the immediate future of SoFi Stadium. The construction of the facility has already dealt with multiple infections of COVID-19, the first known instance of which surfaced in late March. Though coronavirus invades SoFi Stadium, Turner AECOM Hunt, the joint venture in charge of the project, has not stopped work on the site and has instead come up with additional health and safety guidelines for the workers who are still working on the site. It is a different matter that those enhanced procedures have not stopped subsequent cases of the virus spreading among those engaged in the construction work.

“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and remain focused on having a safe and healthy environment for all, now and when we open,” the statement from the facility explained.

With SoFi Stadium’s opening in July not taking place coupled with California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing that mass gatherings such as concerts or sporting competitions unlikely to take place in the State this year, the chances of the Chargers and Rams playing in front of fans at their new facility appear increasingly dim for 2020. The NFL is reportedly looking into contingency plans including a shortened season and/or playing ghost games.

The million dollar question is whether the stadium will be ready and able to host NFL games, with or without supporters, in 2020. In all likelihood, the first season of the new stadium will involve few if any paying customers, with the venue simply providing the backdrop for the TV broadcast of 16 regular-season games due to be played there.
 

Coronavirus count

The United States count of coronavirus cases to date stand at 767,189 and the total deaths stand at 40,743.

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