Teams bracing for the possibility of playing in front of empty arenas

The NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS sent out a joint announcement informing us that they are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all nonessential personnel in response to the coronavirus crisis. The NBA held a call with teams on Monday to stress that this doesn’t mean removing reporters but taking precautions to ensure the safety of everyone involved “after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.”

“Until the league says something else, we are business as usual, with a tremendous amount of caution and prevention to make sure everybody’s safe.”

Pat Riley, via ESPN

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. While there’s no need for panic and hysteria, increased precaution, and more attention to personal hygiene is needed.

The main question now is, will this be enough or will the NBA need to take further measures. The virus will likely spread more before we see a drop in the number of people infected. Last week teams were informed to prepare for playing in empty arenas. LeBron made it clear how he feels about that proposition.

In the end, the decision to play in front of empty arenas and stadiums will not be made by the leagues, but by medical experts in the CDC and other public health officials. Woj said that in talking to teams, there is a sense that scenario is becoming more likely. The most important thing is that everyone stays safe, wash your hands regularly, and try not to touch your face (something an average person does more than a few thousand times a day).