In response to concerns over coronavirus, the four active major North American pro sports leagues issued a joint statement on Monday.
Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) have announced that locker rooms will no longer allow media access. It’s an unprecedented decision.
Locker rooms will be open to players and “essential employees of teams and team facilities” until further notice, which is something the Vancouver Canucks already instituted on Sunday.
The Canucks still allowed questions from the media, though in a press conference setting, with reporters kept at more of a distance.
Here’s the full joint statement from the four leagues:
After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow’s games and practices.
We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.
Coronavirus has impacted a number of sporting events around the world, as professional soccer matches in Italy were played in empty stadiums. The Women’s World Hockey Championships, which were due to begin March 31 in Nova Scotia, were cancelled this weekend. In addition, a major international tennis tournament scheduled to start today in Indian Wells, California, was cancelled yesterday.