How the coronavirus is affecting local, national, and international sports

Coronavirus Updates

FILE – In this Oct. 11, 2016, file photo, Texas Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson, left, packs a bag in the locker room at the baseball park in Arlington, Texas. The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all non-essential personnel in response to the coronavirus crisis, the leagues announced in a joint statement Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- The coronavirus has sent shock waves through the world and has now entered Utah. Sports fans have especially been on high alert after it was discovered that a person who was in attendance at the Gonzaga @ BYU men’s basketball game on Feb. 22 has been diagnosed with the virus.

Since the diagnosis discovery, local sports organizations have made plans to keep fans safe but still able to enjoy the game. Local teams, national sporting leagues and international leagues are also going to great lengths to stop the spread of the virus. 

BYU: After the news broke that an individual who was diagnosed with the coronavirus was in attendance at the Feb. 22 basketball game, BYU took to Instagram to say, “According to the health department, the individual had mild symptoms on February 22 and the risk of transmission is low. As a precaution, those who were sitting within six feet of the individual are being contacted to let them know of the possible exposure.” BYU officials go on to say, “State and county health officials indicate there is no ongoing risk within the Marriott Center. All high-touch surfaces are regularly disinfected. No closure of the facility is necessary at present. BYU will continue to assess the safety of hosting large gatherings on campus and will respond promptly to new information.” 

BYU (Instagram)

BYU went into more depth on their website of what they are doing to prepare in case of a coronavirus outbreak saying they have plans in place for business continuity and safety, alternative learning options, are monitoring critical supply chains, flexible employment options and evaluating safety for large-scale gatherings on campus.

Currently, BYU has not canceled or made any modifications to their sporting events, classes or large-scale gatherings on campus.

UTAH JAZZ: The NBA has issued statement’s regarding the coronavirus but the Larry H. Miller Group and the Utah Jazz tweeted out a statement on sanitary measures now in place at all of their facilities, including Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Also, at the halftime of the Jazz game Monday night in Salt Lake, the Larry H. Miller group displayed a full-screen graphic on the jumbotron of what they are doing for coronavirus prevention, how to spot symptoms and how to prepare yourself and others for a potential outbreak.

NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL: The NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL released a joint statement on Monday addressing locker room access in wake of the coronavirus saying,

“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.” 

The NBA further clarified their safety precautions concerning the Coronavirus, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that the NBA’s short-term recommendations include players fist-bumping fans instead of high-fiving them. The league also suggests their players avoid taking items such as pens, balls, and jerseys to autograph, according to a memo to teams obtained by the ESPN reporters. 

NCAA: With conference basketball tournaments in full swing across the country, the Ivy League canceled it’s men’s and women’s conference tournaments because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, according to ESPN. The Ivy League will instead award its automatic NCAA tournament bids to their regular-season championships, the Princeton women and the Yale men. 

For now, the NCAA still plans on holding the men and women’s tournaments in all 14 scheduled sites despite coronavirus concerns.

Internationally: While U.S. sports leagues have already taken precautions and have additional extensive plans in case of an outbreak, internationally, organizations have already had to take drastic action because of coronavirus issues in their respective areas. 

The International Olympic Committee has insisted that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games will go on as scheduled beginning July 24. However, according to the Los Angles Times, officials in Greece have barred spectators from the traditional lighting of the Olympic torch that is scheduled for this week.

Italy has suspended all sporting events through at least April 3rd as Italy’s death toll has reached over 400 because of the coronavirus, according to the BBC. 
The Champions Soccer League in Europe will play several matches without spectators for at least a week and a half. 


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