(Reuters) - The next three San Jose Sharks home games will be closed to the general public due to concern over the spread of the coronavirus, the ice hockey team’s venue announced on Wednesday.
The March 19 game against the Montreal Canadiens, the March 21 contest against the Boston Bruins and the March 29 game against the Arizona Coyotes will go ahead as scheduled at SAP Center.
But admission to games will be limited to home and visiting club personnel, approved credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff, and NHL officials, the SAP Center in San Jose said.
The Sharks kick off a four-game road trip on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
No other NHL teams have announced plans to restrict access to games.
The move comes after California’s Santa Clara County on Monday announced a ban on gatherings of at least 1,000 people for the rest of the month after a resident in her 60s died of the virus this week.
“The safety of our fans, guests and partners is of the utmost importance,” officials at the SAP Center said.
“Sharks Sports & Entertainment and SAP Center management greatly appreciate your understanding during this unprecedented time.”
The NBA is set to hold its first game without fans in San Francisco on Thursday when the Golden State Warriors take on the Brooklyn Nets.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that attendance at the NCAA’s “March Madness” college basketball tournaments will be restricted to essential staff and limited family due to the ongoing outbreak, which the World Health Organization has called a pandemic.
Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Ed Osmond