The NHL closes dressing rooms to members of the media to curb the potential spread of coronavirus, the league announced Saturday. This is being done at the recommendation of the United States’ Centers for Disease Control. Teams will instead hold formal press conferences following games for the foreseeable future.
Starting today, @NHL will close dressing rooms to media, on recommendation of Centers for Disease Control (@CDCgov) in effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. NBA, MLB + MLS are expected to follow. Media availabilities will be conducted in formal press conference area.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 7, 2020
NHL Closing Dressing Rooms
This is the first time in many years that the NHL has been concerned enough over a health issue to close its dressing rooms. No such steps were taken when H5N1 or SARS was in the headlines in the early 2000s. Those were serious diseases as well but coronavirus has caused far more issues. Many of the word’s largest metropolitan regions have confirmed cases or enacted quarantine protocols.
No players or media members have been infected yet, but the NHL does not want to take chances. New York has recently announced several new confirmed cases to bring the state total up to 76 as of today. New York City is home to seven of those 12 per the Washington Post.
What This Means for the Future
This will hopefully prevent the league from being the first to have a confirmed case for any of its personnel. The NBA, MLB and MLS are expected to adopt the same recommendation as well. Closing the dressing rooms adds a layer of separation between media and players but many postgame conferences are already held in traditional press areas.
The IIHF has also cancelled its Women’s World Championships in Canada over coronavirus concerns. One of the participating nations was Japan, which has cancelled almost all large events. Coronavirus could impact the Olympics that will start in late July but there is time to take control of the situation if governing bodies act swiftly and cooperate. Watch for more measures in case the disease continues to spread among metropolitan populations.
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