NASCAR to Hold Races Without Fans, MLB Cancelled in Response to COVID-19 Virus
Update: [3/12/2020 1:48 PM EST]: NASCAR will be holding their race at Atlanta Motor ...
Update: [3/12/2020 1:48 PM EST]: NASCAR will be holding their race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend without fans present. In a statement, NASCAR tells us “These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events.”
The NHRA is the latest to have been hit by Coronavirus concerns. As such, they’ve canceled the majority of their Gatornats competition coming up this weekend.
It seemed to begin with the NBA as a player on the Utah Jazz had tested positive of COVID-19. Since then, we have seen the likes of the MLB suspending operations as of just minutes ago. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that all operations have been suspended. The start of the 2020 MLB season scheduled for March 26th is also in question.
It almost seems like one domino has fallen and now the rest are sure to follow. Even if it is only precautionary, it would look pretty bad if something were to happen by an organization that wanted to stay open. This “Better safe than sorry” approach seems to be not only in the best interest of public health. It also seems to be in the name of saving the image of these leagues and organizations. Multi-billion dollar industries wouldn’t be closing their doors and losing gobs of revenue if this wasn’t a serious consideration.
NASCAR Likely to be Next
Rumor has it that NASCAR has a press conference scheduled for later today. With the way that things have been going, all signs are pointing to a suspension or alteration of the schedule. The only details left to be told are if they’ll cancel racing altogether or simply not allow a crowd.
The NCAA has put a half-measure in place, limiting the attendance but allowing the games to commence. From what we understand, they will allow essential personnel and family members to attend. The organization is currently working on a medical screening procedure before the entrance. It’s unclear if NASCAR will follow suit or come up with their own solution.