The owners of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose say while they love to see full houses at their games, if fans are feeling sick, it’s best they stay home.
True North Sports & Entertainment said that while staff are cleaning and disinfecting their facilities more frequently due to the spread of COVID-19, it’s still best if sick patrons stay away.
“(We’re) trying to encourage people if they aren’t felling well to stay home. Don’t take that chance,” Senior Vice President of Venues and Entertainment Kevin Donnelly said. “Make that decision for themselves but if they’re not feeling well stay home, pass your ticket on to someone else.”
Donnelly said fans may also notice cleaning staff more often during games and events.
“We’re really focusing on cleanliness and sanitation,” Donnelly said. “We’re taking a more diligent effort to keep things clean. We are wiping the elevator buttons and hand rails. We do it between every event of course but during the event you’ll see more housekeeping staff .”
There have been no presumed or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Manitoba, but in Canada there have been 71 presumed and confirmed cases as of Monday morning.
A spokesperson for True North said there are currently no plans to cancel any events at Bell MTS Place, the Bell MTS Iceplex or the Burton Cummings Theatre.
This comes on the heels of reports from media that the NHL is planning to implement restrictions to players for reporters, including no reporters allowed in locker rooms or one-on-one interviews due to the virus.
While a mandate for all teams to do this has not been sent, the Winnipeg Jets decided Monday to implement those restrictions and put the locker room on lockdown.
“We’ll conduct media availabilites in a formal area which is generally what we’ve been told if they do make the recommendations,” said Jets spokesperson Scott Brown.
NHL commissioner Garry Bettman told NHL.com the league is looking at every contingency.
“We’re considering every conceivable option that may be because what’s happening is evolving not only on a day-to-day basis in terms of us staying on top of developments, but it’s almost hour to hour,” Bettman said.
The Jets’ Nathan Beaulieu said Monday he’s not all that concerned at the moment.
“You can’t worry about what you can’t control.”
Head coach Paul Maurice said the team has strict cleaning protocols, especially when illness breaks out among the team, and Brown said the team has taken further steps.
“We ozone the room, it’s called, almost on a daily basis which creates a much more sanitized environment,” said Brown. “There’s a lot more wiping down of things in terms of equipment, surfaces in the dressing room.
“We are trying to be as vigilant as we can be and at the same time, listen to the advice we are getting from people who know more than myself.”
The NHL has dealt with outbreaks of influenza and the mumps in the past and Maurice said each time they learn something new.
“The thing NHL teams have dealt with are real runs of influenza in their room. You get six or seven guys with the flu. I think every time something like that happens in the league we learn something about how to do it better, and that becomes part of your standard procedure…. All the things that they add stay as part of the protocol.”
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