NHL And MLS Suspend Seasons Due To Coronavirus

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The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer are the latest professional sports leagues to suspend its regular season over concerns about the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

The NHL announced Thursday that it would pause its season beginning with Thursday night's games. The Columbus Blue Jackets were scheduled to play at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For the MLS, match play will be suspended for 30 days, effective immediately.

"Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season - based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees," said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a statement.

Officials made the announcement Thursday, a day after the NBA announced one of its players tested positive for the disease.

Columbus Crew SC was scheduled to play its next game at home Saturday, March 14 against Real Salt Lake. FC Cincinnati's home opener against DC United was also scheduled for Saturday evening.

On Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he would be issuing a public order banning spectators at mass gatherings.

Soon after, NCAA announced that its men’s and women’s March Madness tournaments won’t be played in front of fans this year. Games were scheduled in both Dayton and Cleveland. The Columbus Blue Jackets also closed its games Thursday and Saturday to the public.

Friday, the Big Ten Conference scrapped the remainder of the men's basketball tournament.

The Crew played in Seattle last week despite a part-time employee at CenturyLink Field testing positive for COVID-19. It was the first major sporting event since Washington began the epicenter of the outbreak, and the game saw a smaller turnout than normal. Still, 33,080 fans turned out to the Crew's match agains the Seattle Sounders.

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands. 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. 
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634.