NHL, MLB, NBA and MLS to limit locker room access to essential personnel

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) enters the locker room after a photo shoot, in Toronto, on Thursday, September 12, 2019. (Christopher Katsarov/CP)

In light of the continued spread of the coronavirus, four major professional sports leagues released a joint statement on Monday to address a temporary change in locker room policies.

The NHL, MLB, NBA and MLS came together to announce that non-essential employees and team personnel (including media) won’t be allowed inside locker rooms or clubhouses until further notice.

“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 statement reads. “Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.

“These temporary changes will be effective beginning with [Tuesday’s] games and practices. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”

As of Monday morning, the coronavirus outbreak has sickened more than 110,200 people worldwide, according to a compilation of official counts done by the New York Times, with at least 3,835 people having died — all but 716 of which happened in mainland China.

In the United States specifically, where NBA games take place, the virus has continued to spread rapidly. There were at least 545 coronavirus cases confirmed by lab tests and 22 deaths as of Monday morning, according to a New York Times database.

Research has shown the virus can be transmitted from person to person through a process called “droplet transmission” — wherein a virus is passed on due to an infected person sneezing or coughing — as well as by direct contact.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.