Kevin Baxter of The Los Angeles Times reported on Twitter on Wednesday that public health officials are monitoring conditions locally, after the first Californian died of the virus, and if things take a turn for the worse then sporting events could be played behind closed doors or cancelled altogether.
Sports teams in L.A. County, including @LAFC and the @LAGalaxy, have been warned they may be asked to cancel games or play them in empty stadiums after the county declared a health emergency Wednesday to deal with the coronavirus (1/2)— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 4, 2020
However, while that is a possibility, Baxter also relayed the message that those measures are not imminent, according to public health authorities.
(2/2) But that is a worst-case scenario: County health director Barbara Ferrer: "This could be that games are played but there are no spectators. This could be that there are limits to how people are going to gather... But I want to reassure everyone we are not there today.”— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 4, 2020
Officials are cautioning the empty-stadium option is a worst-case scenario. @LAFC and @LAGalaxy games this weekend are expected to go forward before sold-out stadiums. There are no changes at this time. So keep calm and carry on. We will post a full story soon— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 4, 2020
Closed-door games are certainly not common in MLS, Los Angeles Football Club have never played a competitive game behind closed doors, for example, and fortunately spectators aren’t in the habit of being disruptive/violent/racist enough to make stadium bans that are more common elsewhere in the world a thing here, long may that last.
But Italy announced on Wednesday that all sporting events would be held behind closed doors for the next month, including all Serie A games, so while this remains a theoretical for us in Los Angeles, it is unfolding in the sport already elsewhere.
Breaking: All sporting events in Italy will take place without fans present for at least the next month due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Italian government announced on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/cyDkv4p5Up— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 4, 2020
For now, authorities are monitoring the situation and LAFC’s game Sunday against the Philadelphia Union at Banc of California Stadium is expected to proceed with a full crowd. But it’s worth keeping the possibility in mind, and obviously if we get to the point that games are canceled or only held behind closed doors, that means matters have deteriorated locally, and let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Remember to practice good hygiene in your everyday life, be smart if you are sick or not, and here’s hoping this worst-case scenario doesn’t come to pass here.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!