Coronavirus forces NBA's Warriors to play home game without fans

San Francisco banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people

The Golden State Warriors will play their next home game at the Chase Center on Thursday without fans in attendance, team officials confirmed hours after San Francisco officials announced a ban on mass gatherings due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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The Warriors are set to play the Brooklyn Nets in an empty arena. Other upcoming events, including concerts for Tame Impala and Post Malone, are postponed or canceled. An NBA G-League game between the Santa Cruz Warriors and the Austin Spurs was relocated to Santa Cruz, California.

“Due to escalating concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors announced today that tomorrow night’s game vs. the Brooklyn Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans,” the Warriors announced in a statement. “In addition, all events through March 21 will be canceled or postponed at this time.”

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Fans who purchased tickets to the Warriors’ home game Thursday and the G-League game Saturday will receive refunds in the amount paid, team officials added. Ticketholders for other upcoming events, such as the concerns, will either receive a refund or a make-good date for the rescheduled show.

The NBA held a conference call with team owners Wednesday to discuss contingency plans for the coronavirus outbreak. Teams were instructed to prepare for the possibility of playing games in empty stadiums, with attendance limited to essential personnel.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told a congressional committee Wednesday that the NBA should consider barring fans from games from the time being.

Several NCAA conferences have enacted similar measures for their championship tournaments. The NCAA said it will provide further details on coronavirus’ impact on March Madness in the coming days.

San Francisco’s ban on mass gatherings applies to events with 1,000 or more attendees, including sporting events.

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“We know canceling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said. “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 San Francisco Giants announced they would cancel a planned exhibition game at Oracle Park on March 24 due to the ban.

"We have no other large public gatherings scheduled at Oracle Park during this time period," the Giants said in a statement. "We are in the process of working with Major League Baseball and the A’s to finalize alternative arrangements. We will make that information available as soon as possible."

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