Coronavirus Outbreak: San Jose Sharks, Earthquakes react to ban on large events in March

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes are preparing for the possibility that they could be playing games without fans for the near future.

This comes after Santa Clara County officials announced on Monday a ban on public or private mass gatherings with 1,000 or more people for the rest of the month of March.

"It's concerning obviously, number one for the safety of everyone in the world, but California and obviously Santa Clara. I think that if that's what they're saying is that we can't play in front of crowds then we're going to have to deal with it," said Bob Boughner Sharks interim head coach.

Coronavirus has already prompted all major active sports leagues to close their locker room doors to the media, but now fans could be kept away from the stadiums.

RELATED: Coronavirus Precautions: Santa Clara County cancels mass gatherings, officials say virus spreading too quickly

The Sharks have five home games left this season at the SAP Center.



Three in March that have a serious chance of being played in front of an empty arena, an unprecedented situation for these players and coaches.



"We love playing in front of our fans, they're great to us but we also know that health comes first so we're just here to do our job," San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier said.

"It would be very strange to play in front of an empty building," San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane said. "I mean, obviously I have never been in the NHL and played in a game without any fans. So that idea would definitely be very different."

"What's going on right now is just weird for everybody," San Jose Sharks Alternate Captain Joe Thornton said. "I think we're all confused just like you guys are. I see the Italian soccer teams are doing the no fans thing so I'm not sure what we have planned right now. We go on the road for a week so we will know more when we get back."



RELATED: Coronavirus concerns: Bay Area events see drop in attendance
The San Jose Earthquakes have home matches this month as well.

In a statement, the team announced they will comply with the county's ban, but haven't announced if they will play at an empty Avaya Stadium.



Sports consultant Andy Dolich says major changes to sports have come as a result of natural disasters or other factors, but he's seen nothing like this and believes the decision to ban large events are what's best for everyone.

"Teams, in my view, are the front porch of the community," Dolich said. "They need to be very conversant with what's happening. What's most important here is not the money, it's not a championship, as heinous as that might sound, it's the health of any one person and that overrides everything."



RELATED: Coronavirus Outbreak: Santa Clara County universities, schools make changes

The Sharks and Earthquakes said they will announce changes to their upcoming events soon.

The Quakes have a game scheduled at home on Saturday March 14 while the Sharks don't return home until Thursday March 19.

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