Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that he will issue an order barring large crowds that will include NCAA tournament games scheduled to be played in the state because of the coronavirus.
The news arrived hours before NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that NCAA tournament games will be played with “only essential staff and limited family attendance.”
Dayton is scheduled to host the First Four from March 17-18 while Cleveland is scheduled to host first- and second-round games on March 20 and 22.
The governor of Ohio further clarified: The state will issue an order that NCAA tournament games in Ohio, which included the First Four in Dayton, will be played without spectators.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) March 11, 2020
Again: No fans for NCAA tournament games in Dayton and Cleveland next week, per a state order.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) March 11, 2020
“This seems difficult for people," Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said. "But we know what’s coming. We know what’s around the corner. … Everything looks the same, but it’s really not.”
Cavs, Blue Jackets presumably affected too
DeWine made the announcement in a news conference. The formal order has not yet been given. The state of other events like Cleveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets games is not yet clear.
The Cavaliers’ next home game is scheduled for March 24 against the Sacramento Kings while the Blue Jackets are scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
The Cavaliers and Blue Jackets have yet to publicly respond to the the news.
The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians are scheduled to open their seasons at home on March 26.
Other states, cities barring fans
Ohio’s response arrives hours after San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed announced the ban of crowds of more than 1,000 people in the city.
The Golden State Warriors announced shortly after the decree that Thursday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets will be played without fans in attendance, the first major sporting event in the United States to do so in response to the coronavirus.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee also prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people through the end of March, which would impact the opening series of the Seattle Mariners season.
Several other sporting events such as the Ivy league, MAC and Big West conference basketball tournaments have either been canceled, postponed or ordered to be played without fans in attendance.
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.”
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