Federal, state, and local governments worldwide are trying to come up with plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their various communities. In the world of sports, this has included numerous recommendations and potential plans of attack that would lead to games taking place without fans in attendance, with the hopes that limiting the number of people in the arena to only essential staff members could keep folks safe. This would mirror what Italy has done as it deals with the virus spreading throughout the country.
Outside of the city of San Jose, we haven’t quite seen that in the United States yet — the most major widespread measure we have seen stateside thus far is reporters being barred from locker rooms and media availability happening elsewhere after games — but it appears to be on the table in a number of places. And now, local governments have decided to stress the importance of taking this approach.
Ohio governor Mike DeWine met with the media on Tuesday afternoon and shared his recommendation that all indoor sporting events played in the state are done without fans in the stands for the time being. DeWine also mentioned that he had spoken to officials from the various professional teams in the state earlier in the day.
ATHLETICS: For indoor events, we are asking for no events with spectators other than the athletes, parents, and others essential to the game.
Right now, outdoor events can continue. #COVID19
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 10, 2020
This announcement comes after DeWine says he spoke today with reps from professional sports teams in the state. No official word yet from Cavs on this.
— Matt Wright Fox 8 (@mattwrighttv) March 10, 2020
OHSAA to allow only immediate families of athletes to attend girls basketball and wrestling state tournaments #REVNow
— Rob Todor (@RTodor_GHMO) March 10, 2020
According to Johns Hopkins, there are three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio. While teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets would obviously run into issues if this ended up being the case, Ohio is also a hotbed for college basketball action this year — the MAC conference tournament is in Dayton, First Four games are played in Dayton, and Cleveland hosts games during the first weekend of the Tournament.
This recommendation isn’t just happening in Ohio, as Philadelphia officials recommend limiting the number of individuals who can attend games.
Philadelphia city officials just announced: they are recommending people do not attend gatherings of more than 5,000 people. For reference, the Wells Fargo Center holds nearly 20,000.
— Anna Orso (@anna_orso) March 10, 2020
Pennsylvania, like Ohio, has not seen a major outbreak of COVID-19 cases, as Johns Hopkins has documented 12 cases in the commonwealth. However, Pennsylvania borders New York, which has the most confirmed cases in the United States, to the point that a containment area has been put in place in New Rochelle, a city just north of New York City.