Concerns over the COVID-19 virus have begun to permeate throughout the sports world, and as teams begin to consider alternative plans for the safety of fans and players, one county may force their hands earlier than they would like.
Santa Clara County in California issued a cancellation of mass gatherings over 1,000 people, in light of “significantly increasing rates of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County,” according to the Emergency Operations Center and Public Health Department.
“This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. The strong measures we are taking today are designed to slow the spread of disease,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer in the release. “Today’s order and new recommendations will reduce the number of people who develop severe illness and will help prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. This is critically important for anyone with healthcare needs, not just those most vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.”
The Mercury News reports that the ban applies to all events at the SAP Center for the month of March, which is the home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Three Sharks home games scheduled for the rest of the month will be effected, according to the Mercury News.
Earlier on Monday, a woman in her 60s died in Santa Clara County from the virus, making her the second person to pass away from COVID-19 it in the state. Five new cases were reported in the county according to the the Mercury, raising the total to 43.
In a press conference Monday evening, Cody said the Sharks could possibly continue to have the games in SAP Center, but would have to do so without fans in the building.
The Sharks released a statement acknowledging the ban from the county, and will release their plan on how to handle the remaining home games this month in the coming days.
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