For that matter, this is the first professional sporting event in the United States that will be played without fans in attendance since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
The Golden State Warriors will play Thursday’s game without fans
According to a statement from San Francisco mayor London N. Breed on Wednesday, the city and county will be banning gatherings of 1,000 people or more for at least the next two weeks.
“We know that this order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health. We’re following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
“We know canceling these events is a challenge for everyone, and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health. Today I spoke with the Warriors to discuss the steps we’re taking to cancel large events, and they are in support of our efforts.”London N. Breed
The ban could affect at least two home games for the Golden State Warriors. The team will still host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night but will do so inside an empty Chase Arena. Golden State will then go on their scheduled five-game road trip. However, they’re still scheduled to host the Atlanta Hawks on March 25. It’s not yet known if the ban will be lifted by then.
The NBA issued a statement on the Warriors’ situation
The NBA, along with many other sports organizations throughout the United States, has been closely monitoring the situation surrounding the coronavirus and COVID-19. In a statement to Yahoo Sports, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said that the league is continuing to monitor the situation as a whole and the NBA seems to be in agreement with the decision made by San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors.
“We are closely monitoring developments to determine the appropriate course for future Warriors home games and will continue to work with local governments, the CDC and public health experts to protect the health of our fans, players, coaches, and staff in NBA markets across the country.”NBA spokesman Mike Bass
Will other teams follow suit?
At this point in time, no other NBA games have yet been affected due to concerns over the coronavirus.
There has been talk of the NBA moving games if the coronavirus continues to spread. If a team happens to be forced out of their city, games may be moved to the visiting team’s arena. There’s also been discussions of shutting down the league for a period of time, though that’s currently looked at as the very last resort.
The NBA certainly isn’t the first sport affected by the coronavirus. Soccer games in Europe have been being played in empty arenas. Baseball has been delayed in Japan. The Ivy League recently cancelled their conference basketball tournament. There have been discussions on how March Madness will be affected as a whole and it looks as if the NCAA Tournament will also be played without fans.
Things are going to change daily until this pandemic is gotten under control. For now, the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets will suit up in an empty arena. It’s hard to say what comes next.