San Francisco bans public events holding more than 1,000 people over coronavirus

San Francisco will place a moratorium on public events with more 1,000 people as part of an effort to slow the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor London Breed (D) announced Wednesday. 

The ban, which will apply to Golden State Warriors games, will be in effect for two weeks and may be reauthorized by the city's health officer if necessary, the mayor's office said. 

“We know that this order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health,” Breed said in a statement. “We’re following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines."

ADVERTISEMENT

Breed said she spoke with the Warriors organization about the need to cancel public events and the team supported the efforts. The Warriors have since said that Thursday's game against the Brooklyn Nets will be played without fans. 

"All events at Chase Center through March 21 will be cancelled or postponed at this time. We'll continue to monitor this evolving situation closely to determine best steps," the team said in a tweet.

The San Francisco Giants also announced that an exhibition game scheduled on March 24 against the Oakland A’s will be canceled due to the order.

Breed's announcement came the same day that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global pandemic and as the U.S. tally of confirmed cases of the virus surpassed 1,000. Nearly 100 confirmed cases of the virus had been reported in the Bay Area alone, including 14 in San Francisco, as of Wednesday morning, according to local station KRON 4

ADVERTISEMENT

Top government health officials have consistently warned that the virus's impact will continue to worsen before the outlook improves. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before Congress earlier Wednesday that “we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now." 

"We would recommend there not be large crowds. If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it," Fauci said. "As a public health official anything that has large crowds is something that would give risk to a spread."

The outbreak in the U.S. has caused numerous businesses and schools to shutter and has also led to the cancellations of several music festivals and other mass gatherings, including Coachella. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced earlier this week that he would deploy the National Guard to create a containment zone around a city hit particularly hard by the virus. 

Meanwhile, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee121 University of Washington students test positive for coronavirus Barr praises Seattle police chief as officers clear protest zone OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer MORE (D) on Wednesday banned public events with more than 250 people in three state counties. Washington has reported 267 confirmed coronavirus cases, though Inslee has conceded that “hundreds if not thousands” have contracted it but don't know it. 

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) also recommended a pause to nonessential mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people. 

"The virus needs people to spread. It jumps from person to person, so by reducing the opportunity for that to happen, we can effectively slow the spread,” San Francisco Director of Health Grant Colfax said, urging people over 60 or with certain underlying health conditions to stay home as much as possible. 

He also advised the general public to cut back on the amount of time spent in groups.

--Updated at 2:14 p.m.