ORONO – The NBA has postponed its season and the NCAA will not allow fans at its postseason tournaments due to concerns over the coronavirus.
“I was an AD during the SARS outbreak I was an AD during the bird flu but nothing matches up to this COVID-19 outbreak and I hope we never see anything like it again,” University of Maine Director of Athletics, Ken Ralph, said.
For now, UMaine will move ahead as planned with this weekend’s Hockey East quarterfinal series against UConn, with fans in attendance.
“We will be taking some extra precautions for fans as they enter the arena our goal is to keep everyone safe. We’re working with the NCAA our conference leadership and also partnering with local law enforcement to make sure that we’re staying abreast of this,” Ralph said.
Maine will have extra sanitizing stations, will conduct extra cleaning of the Alfond and will urge fans who are sick to stay home.
The school will provide refunds to fans who choose not to attend.
Maine is the only Hockey East school still hosting a quarterfinal and its decision is certainly not set in stone.
“These are very difficult decisions. What we can say is we’re working with a number of organizations to help them make these decisions as they go along,” Maine CDC Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, said.
While there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Maine, Dr. James Jarvis of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center believes it’s only a matter of time before it infiltrates Maine. He is urging people to take necessary precautions.
“Washing your hands for up to 40 seconds that means singing that alphabet song and the birthday song several times. The other thing is what we call social distancing which is keeping yourself away from others by about six feet. Six feet is a large distance for you to stay away from anybody else in proximity particularly if you’re out and and about or if particularly if you’re going to a gathering with a large amount of people,” Jarvis said.
Ralph said the school’s decision to host fans is not set and could change before Friday.