Tomorrow’s NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets will take place in front of an empty audience.
San Francisco Mayor London N Breed announced on Wednesday that in response to coronavirus concerns in the area, the Health Officer of the City and County of San Francisco will issue a Public Health Order prohibiting all large group events of 1,000 or more persons. The ban on large gatherings will initially go into effect for two weeks, but can be reauthorized by the Health Officer.
The decision comes just two days after the nearby County of Santa Clara made a similar ruling, following the death of a woman in her 60s in the area over the weekend, and mere hours after the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic.
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The ban will most prominently affect the Golden State Warriors, who are scheduled to play a home game Thursday at the Chase Center in downtown San Francisco. The Santa Clara ban affects the San Jose Sharks, who are scheduled to play home games at the SAP Center next week.
“We know that this order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health,” said Mayor Breed. “We’re following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“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.”
The Warriors have announced that Thursday’s game will be played without fans — something that has already occurred for professional soccer matches in Europe, but a first for any of the major North American sports leagues. The team also announced that all events through March 21 will be canceled or postponed, with fans receiving a full refund.
In addition to the NBA game, the Chase Center was scheduled to host three concerts (Tame Impala, Post Malone, and Bell Biv Devoe & Friends), as well as a G League basketball game during the two-week span.
Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, tomorrow night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans. Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid. pic.twitter.com/DMpO71ocvg
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 11, 2020
The Warriors will embark on a five-game road trip after tomorrow’s game, taking them to Milwaukee, Toronto, Indiana, Detroit, and New York before returning home on March 25. Should the ban still be in effect at that point, the Warriors could decide to move home games to a neutral site, or play in their opponent’s arena instead.