Four Major Sports Declare Restrictions Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak
Mar 9, 2020; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Baseball fans try to get autographs from the New York Yankees dugout before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Teams have had to adjust their autograph policy ahead of spring-training games to try to limit contact between players and fans amid the coronavirus outbreak.Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS all announced Monday that they are restricting access to their clubhouses and locker rooms respectively. This comes as the Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country and the world. The NFL, although in their offseason, has also been involved in various conversations pertaining to the subject.
The sports explained that their decisions came after many discussions with public health officials and careful consideration.
The NBA had reportedly decided on Saturday to establish plans to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, with the possibility of playing games without fans and non-essential personnel.
Over 113,000 people worldwide have tested positive for the disease and over 3,900 of those have died. The virus has infected 600 people in the United States and at least 26 have died.
The latest guidelines will go into effect on Tuesday, although some teams—both professional and college—took it upon themselves to close their locker rooms to the media as early as this past weekend.
The leagues also made it clear that these measures are not an attempt to ban reporters, but rather to protect the health and safety of their players and staff. Reporters will have access to designated areas other than the locker rooms to conduct their post-game interviews with the players.
All four leagues said that they plan to play their games as scheduled despite the growing concerns. Of course, that may change depending on the updates on the spread of the virus that seems to grow by the second.