ORLANDO, Fla. — Professional sports are making a comeback in Central Florida this week after being on hiatus for many weeks during the coronavirus pandemic; this comes as Florida now tops 200,000 cases overall.
What You Need To Know
- Major League Soccer is Back Tournament is set for Wednesday
- First round of NBA teams are flying to Orlando
NBA and Major League Soccer action will begin at ESPN's Wide World of Sports this week.
Orlando City Soccer returned to the training field on Sunday, and the Major League Soccer is Back Tournament is set for Wednesday, July 8.
Orlando City Soccer is taking on Inter Miami to open the tournament.
After the tournament, Major League Soccer plans to continue its regular season with a revised schedule in home markets.
There have been some hiccups leading up to this tournament. The Vancouver Whitecaps were set to arrive in Orlando on July 1, but they were delayed because of two inconclusive coronavirus tests that later came back negative.
They are set to head to Orlando Monday.
Also on Monday, fans are going to be hearing from Orlando City Captain Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, or better known as Nani, and Tuesday from Head Coach Oscar Pareja on preparations for Orlando City's return to competition.
The first round of NBA teams are flying to Orlando on Tuesday to resume the season.
Once in Orlando, all players, coaches and staff will isolate in their hotel rooms, until they return negative tests on consecutive days, 24 hours apart.
At least 25 NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus since mandatory testing began at the end of June.
When players arrive to Disney, it is been described as a "bubble," with no fans and rules on where players can go.
Orlando Magic players are trying to look at the bright side.
"I'm trying to just make a positive out of a negative, I'm looking at it as, I'm a part of history. This is something that's never happened in any professional sport and hopefully it never happens again," Orlando Magic player D.J. Augustin said.
As of Sunday, Florida's seven-day coronavirus positivity rate average is 18 percent.
The World Health Organization considers above 5 percent to be concerning, and above 10 percent rapid community spread.
The NBA is also planning to make mental health and wellness resources available to players when they arrive here as things will be quite different than what they're used to.
This year will be very different with no spectators at sporting events.
For Walk On's Bistreaux and Bar on International Drive, construction has lasted a few months longer than expected because of the pandemic.
As a new restaurant, Director of Operations Joe Foranoce is looking forward to sports return to Orlando.
"We call it a game day feeling with a taste of Louisiana," Foranoce said.
He's hoping fans will want a place to watch the action.
"All of us down in Orlando would love to go to these games, but I think for business, sports bars, just in general, having people able to see sports out there, is just going to make it exciting, and maybe bring some more people out to watch what's going on," Foranoce said.
Walk On's sign is set to turn on for the first time on July 27.
"I just think it'll take the thought process away from the virus away a little bit and give them something else to focus on," Foranoce said.
He hopes guests will walk in to catch a game and cheer on their favorite teams, hoping for a jumpstart to business coinciding with sports return.
"I think we still would have been okay, I just think sports will enhance it," he said.
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