By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – The Golden State Warriors will play their Thursday home game without spectators because of concerns about coronavirus, the San Francisco-based NBA team said on Wednesday.
The decision was announced shortly after the city and county of San Francisco announced a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
After hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, the Warriors will play their next five games on the road before returning home to face the Atlanta Hawks on March 25.
“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 team said in a statement.
The Warriors returned to San Francisco for the 2019-20 NBA campaign after spending the previous 47 seasons in Oakland.
The number of U.S. coronavirus cases has risen steadily and affected almost three-quarters of the states. More than 1,025 cases and 28 deaths have been reported, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.
Warriors guard Steph Curry, who has missed most of the current season due to injury, told reporters: “(I) obviously understand the perspective and the decision in terms of trying to do our part to stop the spread and keep people safe.”
The Warriors said all other events scheduled at their home venue through March 21 will be canceled.
“We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely to determine next steps for future games and events,” the Warriors said.
“We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests and partners during this unprecedented time.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond)