The Golden State Warriors and New York Nets will play the first U.S. professional sports teams to play a game in front of an empty-arena due to the coronavirus.
“Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, (Thursday) night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans,” the Warriors said in a statement. “Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid.”
The World Health Organization officially labeled the coronavirus a pandemic on Wednesday.
Much of the impetus behind the decision to play the game without fans, stems from a directive by the San Francisco Health Office, banning gatherings of 1,000 people or more. In addition, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a ban on gatherings of 250 or more, in the greater Seattle area.
NBA owners will have a conference call on Wednesday to discuss contingency plans for scheduling games in-light of new state and municipal restrictions governing crowd sizes.
On Monday, the NBA announced that they also plan to cut-off reporter access to locker rooms. The NHL and MLB also announced that they were following a CDC recommendation to close media access to dressing rooms over the weekend.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn