Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf issued an order on Wednesday afternoon that permits professional sports to resume without fans in counties that have moved into the green or yellow phase of reopening.
Allegheny County and Butler County, which is home to the Penguins' practice facility, are both in the yellow phase of reopening.
The team, or the league in which the team plays must have an approved coronavirus safety plan in order to reopen.
“Such a plan must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel," said a statement on the governor's website. "Also, no fans or spectators may be permitted on interior or exterior venue property. Professional sports organizations are encouraged to contact the Wolf Administration to share their reopening plans and get them approved by the Department of Health.”
The order makes it possible for Pittsburgh to be a hub city for the NHL. Gary Bettman announced on Tuesday that Pittsburgh is one of 10 cities in consideration to be a hub city for the restart of the NHL season.
“You never know at the end what their final criteria are going to be,” saidTom McMillan, the Penguins' vice president of communication on Wednesday. “But we feel good about it.”
“We thought, ‘What better place to get this all started again than Pittsburgh?’ Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said in a statement. “We’ve got an internationally renowned medical partner in UPMC to oversee health and safety protocols. We’ve got tremendous facilities in PPG Paints Arena and the UPMC Lemieux Sports complex (in Cranberry) that the NHL knows well because we hosted two Stanley Cups in recent years. We’ve got great support from the business community and our political leaders and, obviously, we think Pittsburgh’s the best hockey town in the country.”
The NHL issued a lengthy, 22-page list of protocols for teams to resume working out at their facilities that involves testing and monitoring on-venue players and personnel.