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Michigan governor lifts stay-at-home order, allowing for moderate return of sports

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday that sports teams can return to limited practice. We break down what it means.

A general view of Comerica Park during the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 26, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on Monday that will lift the stay-at-home order that has been in place since late March. Mot notably, bars and restaurants will be able to re-open in limited capacity, and gatherings will now be limited to up to 100 people instead of the previous 10.

This opens the door for professional sports to return to practice and preparation. According to Pro Football Talk, the outdoor provides that “outdoor sports practices and games can take place as long as individuals on the field and in the stands are able to practice social distancing.”

This coupled with the 100-person limit on events creates some limitations. An NFL roster is 90 players, and when you factor in coaches, training staff, and so forth, you’re well over 100. Additionally, while teams have large facilities, social distanced practices would be limited.

The most notable teams this impacts include the Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, and Pistons. Different teams are looking at different restart plans, so not all are impacted the same way. Here’s a look at what it means for each of the notable teams, based in part on where their leagues currently stand.

Detroit Lions

The Lions are in their offseason workout program, but the NFL has said teams can start re-opening their facilities to front office personnel. The Lions likely will start doing that before too long. Coaches and players are not yet allowed back at any NFL facilities, although coaches could be allowed back sooner than later. Meanwhile, the players require the owners reach an agreement with the union to restart in-person activities.

Detroit Pistons

The NBA is targeting July 31st for re-starting the season in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, and looking at several playoff plans. The league is reportedly set to call players back to local workout facilities in early June, so this re-opening by the governor would allow for players to come back to Detroit for practices before potentially heading to Orlando.

Detroit Red Wings

The NHL announced plans for a 24-team playoff hosted in two cities. It’s not clear yet if players would return to their local spot or go straight to the neutral locations.

Detroit Tigers

MLB owners are pushing for a restart in early July, with spraining training restarting in mid-June. It seems likely that spring training would be in the local cities, rather than in Florida and Arizona, but that has not been finalized. Owners and players have been negotiating health and safety issues, and have made proposals to each other on economics. They have a ways to go.