NBA considering moving games to cities not yet affected by coronavirus as league plans next steps, per report
League owners and execs are expected to discuss a possible plan of action in a critical call set for Wednesday
As new cases of the coronavirus get reported on a daily basis in the United States, sports leagues across the country are taking steps to best combat the virus. The NBA, as well as other professional sports leagues, have already before and after games from media, and memos were reportedly sent to each team instructing them to have contingency plans in place should the outbreak worsen. Teams were expected to have an arrangement with an infectious disease specialist, identifying a specific facility to test for coronavirus and a plan to limit the number of team and arena staff members that would interact with players, by Tuesday, March 10, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Additionally, a conference call between the NBA league office and team ownership is expected to take place Wednesday afternoon. Plans will be discussed to determine what steps should be taken by the league, with several ideas already on the table. One such option includes moving some games to cities where outbreaks of the virus have not happened, or moving them to away arenas if the home team can't host the game due to health concerns, per Wojnarowski. Other options include playing games without fans and essential personnel in attendance, or a more drastic move, postponing games until the virus is under control.
The spread of the virus in the United States has been minimal compared to that of the rest of the world, but new cases are reported daily across the country. In San Francisco, where the Golden State Warriors just relocated to this season, city and county officials are recommending that any events with over 50 people be canceled amid the outbreak. However, the Warriors released a statement stating that they're "monitoring the situation," as they continue to follow the guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since there has been no legal order given to the Warriors by the city of San Francisco to cancel games, the team will continue as usual, likely until something is decided on a league-wide basis.
After the NBA's planned conference call Wednesday, the league will reportedly have two more calls on Thursday with team presidents and general managers. In addition to closing off locker rooms to essential personnel only, teams have been instructed to create a 6-to-8-feet gap of space between players and reporters during any media availability outside the locker room before or after games. While media have been barred from entering locker rooms for the time being, the league announced that it's just a temporary measure to ensure everyone's safety.
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