A number of events, festivals, concerts, and block parties are now being canceled or postponed in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Could local sports be next?
The University of Hawaii men’s and women’s basketball teams will be hitting the court in California to an empty arena, as the Big West Conference announced Tuesday that their conference tournaments will be held without spectators.
UH released this statement in response to KHON2’s request for an interview about their plan moving forward:
“We are following the lead of the State Dept. of Health, governorʻs office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There has been no guidance calling for the cancelling on public events but this is a rapidly evolving situation and things are subject to change with little or no notice. Our top priority is the welfare of our students, employees and fans and the university will immediately announce any updates if and when the current situation changes. At this point in time, all sporting events scheduled for this weekend are still on. We encourage everyone to follow the basic health guidelines we have all heard over and over again – stay home if your sick, wash your hands properly and often, do not touch your face and consider additional steps to limit public interaction if you are in a high risk group like the elderly or medical condition that weakens your immune system , or live with someone who is in a high risk group.”
BWC foe UC Santa Barbara has already decided to eliminate spectators from sporting events. Rainbow Warrior volleyball head coach Charlie Wade hopes UH won’t have to come to that decision.
“The fans the coaches the players aren’t happy with it and I think everyone right now is hang on and see what happens. Obviously we’d rather have people in the stands whether it’s home or road.”
The Rainbow Warrior volleyball team played in front of over 10,000 people Friday night in their dramatic comeback win over BYU.
Down the road in Manoa the Hawaii Pacific University women’s basketball team is playing host this weekend to the first round regional of the NCAA Division 2 tournament.
They are hosting fans at the event, but are also taking precautions. So much so that HPU Executive Director of Athletics Sam Moku was mopping the Shark Tank himself on Wednesday.
“I’m in there mopping right now getting the venue ready, we got hand sanitizers when we wash our towels we’re going to make sure we use Clorox and for the teams and we bought new towels for all of the towels and we’re disinfecting the areas and then we have our cleaners in line after every game to be ready to take care of the different areas within the gym to make sure they’re clean.” Moku said.
On the national level, USC and UCLA have also banned spectators. The NCAA will make a decision about their national basketball tournaments in the coming days. The NBA has reportedly put plans in place to play without fans if necessary.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell doesn’t think Hawaii is at that point yet.
“I don’t think that action needs to be taken yet but you’re seeing some voluntary steps being made Honolulu Festival and some of these other things. They just don’t want to put the pressure of people coming from far away making decisions about whether to travel or not. I think those decisions were tempered properly and correctly made and at some point, we may have to make decisions like that but I don’t think we’re there yet.”