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The latest from the Reds, FCC on masks at upcoming games

As of now, Ohio’s mask order is in conflict with CDC guidance. That clouds the path forward for the Reds and FCC.
FC Cincinnati during a match at Nippert Stadium in 2019.
FC Cincinnati during a match at Nippert Stadium in 2019.(Brian Planalp/FOX19)
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 8:38 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Anticipation is building across the country for mask-free sporting events following Thursday’s new guidance from the CDC that vaccinated folks can mostly ditch their masks.

The situation in Ohio is murky. The CDC guidance doesn’t preempt state-issued health orders and Ohio’s mask mandate is, as of this writing, still in place.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday the mask mandate would expire, along with all of Ohio’s other health orders, on June 2. But he was silent on the CDC guidance during his media briefing on Thursday, and he hasn’t since said anything publicly about it.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday afternoon Kentucky would follow CDC guidance “immediately.” Indiana ditched its mask mandate in April.

That leaves the Reds and FC Cincinnati, both with upcoming home contests, in a strange place.

For the Reds’ part, MLB announced Thursday afternoon it would no longer require masks in stadiums, though it is letting teams make decisions “based upon local and state orders.”

A Reds spokesperson tells FOX19 NOW the club hasn’t made a final decision on masks yet, but they are working on it and fans should expect an announcement “soon.”

The Reds take on the San Fransisco Giants at home on Monday. Currently, the club is allowing 40 percent total capacity at Great American Ball Park, per Ohio regulations (which, again, will be nixed wholesale June 2.)

As for FCC, no such pronouncement has come from MLS offices about ending the league-wide mask policy.

Meanwhile, the club is busy preparing for its home opener and first-ever match in West End Stadium.

An FCC spokesperson told FOX19 NOW early Thursday evening of the new CDC guidance: “It does not impact anything. We have to work with MLS health and safety protocols. Until there’s a change from the league perspective, we’re still sticking with what we’ve had in place.”

Jeff Berding, FCC president, had this to say: “We have not made changes in advance of Sunday. To date, we have been requiring masks and social distancing which is in accordance with MLS and public health guidelines.”

The club will welcome around 6,000 fans (at this point, masked fans) to the sparkling new stadium on Sunday.

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