The NBA has sent a memo to its teams requesting that they begin preparations to play games without fans in attendance in case the coronavirus outbreak worsens, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
The league memo also asked its franchises to identify “essential staff” that would be required to play the games in empty arenas.
Among the measures that the NBA wants its teams to prepare for is the possibility of making “temperature checks” on various players, team staff members, referees and anyone else deemed “essential” to stage a game without fans, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). The league also reminded its teams of existing rules regarding postponements or cancellations of games, Charania adds in another tweet.
There hasn’t been any noticeable impact on attendance domestically since the outbreak but the coronavirus has led to drastic measures outside North America. Italy, for example, has banned fans from sporting events for at least a month and there is growing fear that the Tokyo Olympics could be postponed or even cancelled.