Coronavirus concerns in Santa Clara County, California, has prompted the county's Public Health Department to cancel mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people, a move that is slated to have a significant impact on the sports world.
The edict, issued by the county's Public Health Officer on Monday night, comes in the wake of the first death recorded in Santa Clara County from COVID-19. The mass-gatherings ban goes into effect at 12 a.m. PT Wednesday and will last at least three weeks.
The move will directly impact events held at San Jose's SAP Center — home of the NHL's Sharks and AHL's Barracuda — as well as at Earthquakes Stadium — home of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes — and potentially sporting events at Stanford University in Palo Alto.
While there are no sporting events slated at SAP Center until March 17, the mass-gatherings ban will impact at least three San Jose Sharks home games. But, in a statement released Monday night, the team said no decision on what to do with the games has been reached, and they will update everyone on what will happen with them in the coming days.
Statement from the #SJSharks.https://t.co/tjUEexvhUWpic.twitter.com/WklubYLu4n
"SAP Center at San Jose is aware of the County of Santa Clara's Public Health Department order to prohibit public and private mass gatherings through the end of March. We will adhere to the mandated guidelines. No events are scheduled at SAP Center until Tues., March 17. We will be reviewing each scheduled event due to take place for the rest of the month and provide an update in the coming days," the Sharks wrote in a statement.
"We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests and partners during this unprecedented time."
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San Jose Sharks fans celebrate after a goal during the third period of a March 3 game at SAP Center. (Photo: Neville E. Guard, USA TODAY Sports)
Santa Clara County says 43 coronavirus cases were identified as of Monday night.
“This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. The strong measures we are taking today are designed to slow the spread of disease,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. “Today’s order and new recommendations will reduce the number of people who develop severe illness and will help prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. This is critically important for anyone with healthcare needs, not just those most vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.”
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