Following Santa Clara County’s legal order banning all gatherings of 1,000 people or more and the state of Washington’s decision to restrict gatherings of more than 250 people in King County, the March 21 Major League Soccer match between the host San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City has been postponed, it was announced on Wednesday evening.
Seattle Sounders FC’s home match with FC Dallas already had been postponed due to the outbreak. Both games will be rescheduled in the future.
In another announcement, MLS has mandated that players, coaches and essential staff must travel to match day via charter flights for the foreseeable future.
The league also has suspended the opening procession in which MLS players and youth soccer players enter the field side-by-side, postponing player appearances and autograph sessions and limiting fan experiences during team warm-ups.
MLS already has restricted the media from entering the locker room after matches.
MLS clubs and stadium operators have implemented procedures to ensure the safety of fans and communities by increasing cleaning staff, disinfecting high-traffic areas, sanitizing the facilities before and after each match, and making hand sanitizer available throughout venues. MLS stadiums are also allowing guests to bring in their own bottles of hand sanitizer and encouraging fans who feel sick or are in vulnerable populations to enjoy the match at home. Clubs also will communicate with fans in advance of matches and post in-stadium signage to further educate about everyday preventative actions advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
“Providing a safe and healthy environment for our fans, players and everyone at MLS matches is our top priority,” MLS said in a statement. “During this rapidly changing issue, MLS remains in direct contact with the relevant governmental agencies including the CDC and PHAC, and is also coordinating with other sporting organizations regarding COVID-19. In addition, every MLS club is in continuous dialogue with local and regional health authorities.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide any updates at the appropriate time.”
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