SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco has issued a ban on all group events larger than 1,000 people, Mayor London Breed announced. The ban goes into effect immediately Wednesday.
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"This is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, and builds on our previous public health recommendations," Mayor Breed said.
The Public Health Order to prohibit all large events follows recommendations issued last week by the city's Department of Public Health, which encouraged social distancing to stop person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
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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," 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."
ESPN reported that the Golden State Warriors are planning to play foreseeable home games without fans in observance of the San Francisco Health Office's order.
"It's bigger than the Warriors. It's a serious situation, and so there are a lot different opinions on what should be done, what could be done. But I think we would all agree, better to be safe than sorry," says Warrior GM Bob Myers. "(It is a) sobering moment to enter into this unknown"
The Warriors addressed the decision to not play with fans at Chase Center before the NBA suspended regular season Wednesday evening.
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"(We are) looking at data from Wuhan, Seattle, from Italy, and we are making the best decision that we can. This is an extraordinary circumstance and we are taking some extraordinary actions," explains San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin. "We have to take those steps now. But we are all of one mind that if we do not make that investment now, the impacts over time will be much greater."
The city's Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax said, "Our chief concern is for vulnerable populations who are most at risk of getting very sick, or dying if they get COVID-19. That is why we are recommending that people over 60, or with certain underlying health conditions, stay home as much as possible."
In regards to the novel coronavirus impact on San Francisco schools, "At this time, we are not planning widespread school closures," Colfax said. "This is an evolving situation."
Colfax said, "For the general public, reducing the opportunity for exposure to the virus is the top priority, and by canceling events, we are improving the odds. We encourage all San Franciscans to cut back on the time you spend in groups and wash your hands consistently."
The novel coronavirus isn't only impacting sports games and events, but its also affecting businesses.
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Mayor Breed and city supervisors gathered in San Francisco's Chinatown Wednesday afternoon to announce immediate relief packages for small businesses.
"We are allowing small businesses to defer the next round of quarterly business taxes to next year in February of 2021, which I know is going to provide significant relief for our businesses." Breed said. " We will also be delaying a collection of our Unified License bill, for at least three months. These bills include charges for restaurants, for food trucks, for bakeries, and other small businesses from various city departments."
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"San Francisco has been through challenging health crises in the past," Mayor Breed said. " We will get through this."
Here are some events impacted by the announcement:
Broadway San Francisco announced that beginning Wednesday night all performances of "Hamilton" at the Orpheum Theatre and "The Last Ship" will be canceled through March 25th. The Wednesday matinee went on as scheduled. Broadway SF said people who had purchased tickets will receive a refund.
The Curran Theater says performances of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" have been canceled through the end of March. Theater officials say a decision on performances in April will be made at a later date in line with the recommendations of heath officials.
Other venues are also making last-minute adjustments, Bill Graham Civic and The Warfield both have shows that have been canceled or postponed.
At the same time, some large, scheduled conferences are now trying to explore new options to avoid cancellations. Tim Kay is the executive producer at Argus HD, which does event production for large events at places like the Moscone Center. He said about a dozen of the conferences he was set to work have been canceled, but a handful are trying to go remote.
"I think it's a relatively new concept with these virtual events, and so a lot of these new companies are figuring out how to do it," Kay said. "It's a very unknown time for all production companies,"
Watch the full announcement on banning large gatherings:
Stay with ABC7 News for the latest details on this developing story.
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