After 43 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Santa Clara County, county officials have banned all mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people, in attempts to curb the spread of the virus.
This decision comes just hours after the National Hockey League joined with the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer in a joint statement saying that they would temporarily be limiting access to the inside of locker rooms as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.
Per the County, the order will take effect as of 12:00 a.m. on March 11, 2020 and will continue for at least three weeks afterward. The Sharks have three home games in that timeframe: Montreal on March 19, Boston on March 21 and Arizona on March 29, as well as two AHL Barracuda games on March 17 and 22. There are no events planned at SAP Center until March 17, when the Barracuda host the Colorado Eagles.
The leagues will have some time to discuss options, including potentially playing without an audience, which is going over with owners about as well as one would expect. This close to the end of the season, however, teams may not have enough time to reschedule if other teams are affected by similar ordinances.
Under the previous recommendations from the Santa Clara County, the Sharks had hosted three home games, releasing this statement regarding events at SAP Center:
SAP Center undergoes a rigorous cleaning procedure after each and every event, with particular attention paid to high-traffic, high public-contact areas. Many areas will receive additional, enhanced measures throughout the course of events for the foreseeable future.
Guests attending tonight’s game and future SAP Center events are strongly encouraged to follow the health department’s suggestion, which recommends that “persons at higher risk avoid mass gatherings such as parades, sporting events, and concerts where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.”
As a standard, ANY potential guest who is feeling ill, regardless of their symptoms, should always refrain from attending public events.
For all SAP Center guests, we ask the following:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean your hands.
The Sharks and SAP Center have not yet released an official plan with regards to the ban.
UPDATE, 8:50 p.m. PT/11:50 p.m. ET:
Per Frank Seravalli of TSN and President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, the Sharks will have three options in order to comply with the order:
Told the #sjsharks will abide by Santa Clara County’s order / guideline. Three options now for three home games sked during ban on mass gatherings.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 10, 2020
1) Play w/o fans in SAP Center
2) Neutral Site
3) Postpone & Reschedule
Exact path TBD, plenty of time w team away on 9-day trip.
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m. PT/11:54 p.m. ET:
Here is the full statement from the Sharks: