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Governor Jay Inslee enacts ban on gatherings large gatherings, massive sports implications for Seattle

NHL: DEC 05 Seattle Center Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Coronavirus has greatly impacted life in Western Washington for a couple of weeks, and now it will be mandated even further.

Governor Jay Inslee has announced a ban on gatherings of over 250 people in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. The announcement was made at 10:23 AM PST here.

Everett, Seattle and Tacoma are the biggest cities therein, all of whom boast ownership to sports teams of various levels. The implications of this gathering prohibition could have massive impact on sporting events up and down I-5.

Tacoma hosts dozens of Washington’s biggest events throughout the year in the Tacoma Dome, and is home to the Tacoma Rainiers. Everett has the Everett Silvertips, a member of the Western Hockey League. The Seattle Storm also held home court in Everett, though they are currently out of season. Seattle obviously is home to CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park, with the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks, Dragons, and Sounders - not to mention the numerous concerts that take place at CenturyLink in particular.

One of the quickest implications will be this Sunday’s home game for the Dragons.

They are still set to take on the Los Angeles Wildcats, but will now be the first XFL game to be played in front of an empty stadium. Full refunds are to be given to single and season ticket holders for this game. This comes from a few different sources that sports specifically are not given any exception in this matter. Governor Inslee specifically included sporting events in his list of banned gatherings.

This is not a science outlet, nor a world politics outlet, and it would be improper to discuss what anyone should or shouldn’t do, or to go into detail as to how the virus behaves in gatherings of over 250 people. Leave that to more qualified individuals.

But as the understanding of COVID-19 continues to grow, this will probably become more of the pattern in the days ahead, not less. It was just earlier this week that most professional sports agreed to revoke media access to locker rooms to protect the athletes, a move that has not been received well by many.

We will have to wait and see what this means for the remainder of the Seattle Dragons schedule, as well as the beginning of MLB for the Seattle Mariners. Governor Inslee did specifically mention Mariners owner John Stanton by name, stating he’s had conversations with him in regards to the beginning of the MLB season. He also seemed to indicate it was unlikely this would continue past March, but no further details on duration or scope. As a matter of fact, Inslee hinted that this ban could grow in the days ahead in his speech.

At the end of the day, there are far more important things than when, where, and how a sports team plays in front of people. This is a confusing, inconvenient, and uncertain time for all who live within the affected radius of Seattle. Please stay safe and be smart, for the sake of anyone who may be more vulnerable than you are. I don’t envy anyone who has to make decisions at the level of Governor Inslee, and everyone is doing the best they can with the responsibilities that they have been given.

Fortunately, Coronavirus is not transmitted by logging on to Field Gulls, and I appreciate this community’s commitment to us and to Seattle sports. While we’re all stuck inside, thanks for reading!

It is worth ending by saying that it is at this point unlikely that this will still impact Seattle by September for the beginning of the Seahawks schedule. However, there has been a confirmed case of Coronavirus in the Las Vegas county of Nevada, where the NFL Draft is set to be held on April 23rd. No restrictions have been placed there as of yet.