Jason Owens | Yahoo Sports
San Francisco is banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people for at least two weeks because of the coronavirus, a decree that will impact Golden State Warriors home games.
Mayor London N. Breed made the announcement Wednesday morning.
“We know that this order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health,” Breed said in a statement. “We’re following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
“We know cancelling these events is a challenge for everyone, and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health. Today I spoke with the Warriors to discuss the steps we’re taking to cancel large events, and they are in support of our efforts.”
The order will impact at least two Warriors home games. The Warriors are scheduled to host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday and the Atlanta Hawks on March 25.
The Warriors later announced that they will play Thursday’s game without fans.
The game will be the first major American sporting event to be played without fans since the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States.
The ban doesn’t extend into baseball’s regular season with the San Francisco Giants scheduled to host their first home game on April 3. The Giants noted that they are canceling a March 24 exhibition game against the Oakland A’s.
“We will not play our upcoming March 24th exhibition game against the Oakland A’s at Oracle Park in San Francisco,” the statement reads. “We have no other large public gatherings scheduled at Oracle Park during this time period. We are in the process of working with Major League Baseball and the A’s to finalize alternative arrangements.”
The ban goes into effect immediately and can be reauthorized after the initial two-week time frame by the city’s health officer Dr. Grant Colfax, according to the statement.
The news arrives the same day the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronavirus a pandemic.
“A pandemic just means that there are many cases of infectious diseases in multiple parts of the world and that it constitutes something that’s above the baseline rate that you’d expect,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “It doesn’t say anything about severity.”
Colfax wrote in the San Francisco statement that the step to prohibit large crowds is an effort to improve the odds of reducing the spread of the virus.
“For the general public, reducing the opportunity for exposure to the virus is the top priority, and by cancelling events, we are improving the odds,” Colfax wrote. “We encourage all San Franciscans to cut back on the time you spend in groups and wash your hands consistently.”