On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the cancellation or postponement of events with at least 50 people for the next eight weeks due to the coronavirus.
In a notice, the CDC said,
Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
That two-month period, which would go until May 10, would extend the length of planned sports postponements.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the basketball ban will last at least 30 days, which would take the league through April 10.
On Sunday, ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted NBA executives “increasingly believe a best case scenario is a mid-to-late June return to play — with no fans.”
The MLB canceled spring training games on Thursday and announced the first game of the season would be delayed for at least two dates from the original Opening Day. That would put the goal at April 9.
That seemed ambitious from the get-go as the league considered future plans. ESPN baseball reporter Jeff Passan already told Get Up he expects league play to be suspended until at least May.
The NHL paused its season Thursday. In a statement, the players association said they would “continue to closely monitor this very dynamic situation.”
The NFL, which is in its offseason, announced the league season will begin as scheduled. Free agency starts on Wednesday.
Organized team activity, though, began in the second week of April last year. A full roster with team personnel would be much larger than a 50-person group. The NFL has yet to rule if OTAs will go on as planned.
The CDC said large events and mass gatherings included “conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies.”
Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.
This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.
If sports leagues follow this recommendation, the eight-week pause would give them a guideline on how to enact policy in the near future regarding the resumption of their respective seasons.