NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS Close Locker Rooms to Media Due to Coronavirus


The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS are all closing their respective locker rooms to the media due to the coronavirus outbreak, the leagues announced on Monday. 

"After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice," the four leagues wrote in a joint statement. "Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow's games and practices."

"NBA is planning to limit locker room access to only players and essential team personnel in wake of coronavirus," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday. "Teams are also instructed to create a 6-to-8 foot distance between players and media in availability sessions outside locker rooms."

Major League Baseball has taken a similar stance to the NBA and NHL. The league will also "monitor local markets and remain nimble if local health authorities recommend games not be played," per ESPN's Jeff Passan. Games could also be moved to alternative sites if local health officials recommend avoiding games in specific cities. 

Numerous international leagues have taken steps to combat the spread of coronavirus in recent weeks. All professional sports in Italy have been postponed, and Japan's top baseball league has postponed the beginning of its season. 

No games have been cancelled by any of the major American sports leagues. There has also been no mandate to ban fans from games.