The quickly-spreading coronavirus has impacted innumerable social activities. Large events, such as the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, have already been canceled, while even larger events, such as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are considering that action.
Not surprisingly, sports organizations are scrambling to figure out how to handle their large, public events, and to get contingency plans set in place.
On Monday, the four major American sports organizations currently in season — the NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS — issued a joint statement limiting locker room access to the media.
Enclosed is the official joint statement from the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS on their new locker room access restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus crisis ... pic.twitter.com/KkATJVI6rH— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 9, 2020
If you can’t see the tweet, here’s the statement:
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 temporary 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.
This is certainly a hit to NBA coverage, though media members will still be able to talk with players and coaches, it just will be outside of the locker room.
There’s the potential for even larger change for the Golden State Warriors. The city is shutting down the bulk of its events for the next few weeks, though the Warriors did go ahead and play a home game on Saturday. All indications are that they’ll do the same on Tuesday.
San Francisco bans events for 2 weeks due to Covid-19 concerns, failure to comply would constitute a misdemeanor - KRON— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) March 8, 2020
At this point, much is in the air regarding how the NBA will handle the virus. The season may conclude as normal, with slightly different media rules, or the playoffs could even be canceled. Obviously sports are far from the most important thing being impacted, but it is a sign as to how potentially-serious the situation is.
We’ll keep you updated with any further developments.