MLS club statements ahead of Week 2 matches in wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases

In the wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported in King County, the Seattle Sounders FC released the following statement on Thursday ahead of Saturday's scheduled MLS Week 2 match against Columbus Crew SC at CenturyLink Field (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in USA; MLS LIVE ON DAZN in Canada).

Seattle Sounders FC's match versus Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, March 7 is scheduled to take place as planned at CenturyLink Field. As our organization has previously stated, nothing is more important than public safety and the wellbeing of our fans at all Sounders FC events. We are in continuous dialogue with regional health authorities and Major League Soccer, in addition to our network of medical experts. Because of this, we are proceeding with Saturday's match and Sounders FC is following the updated guidelines that were released on Wednesday by Public Health - Seattle & King County.

Additionally, we are working closely with our colleagues at First & Goal Inc. and CenturyLink Field to provide a safe matchday experience. This effort includes expanded sanitation procedures - encompassing enhanced cleaning treatments to disinfect all areas of the stadium before and after every event - in addition to increased hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue and continued staff education and training. It should also be noted that our club is aware of King County's recent announcement about a confirmed case of COVID-19 inside CenturyLink Field stemming from an event on February 22. The affected part-time stadium employee did not work any Sounders FC events. In coordination with First & Goal Inc. and Public Health - Seattle & King County, the club is following the regional health authority's determination that risk to stadium attendees from that employee was low and that no additional precautions are necessary heading into Saturday's match.

As an added measure of safety in accordance with the new guidelines from Public Health - Seattle & King County, we are advising that the listed at-risk members of the community and any individual who is currently sick refrain from attending Saturday's contest. This is being done out of an abundance of caution, and members of these groups that already purchased tickets can work with representatives from Sounders FC's customer service department on exchange options. At this time, there has been no recommendation from Public Health - Seattle & King County to adjust scheduling for sporting events, as is the case with Seattle Public Schools and other community institutions. As this situation remains fluid, the club is in real-time communication with key community stakeholders, and we will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Columbus Crew SC released a statement shortly after:

The San Jose Earthquakes also made a public statement following the Santa Clara Public Health Department’s recommendation that all large events be cancelled. The Quakes are scheduled to host Minnesota United in Week 2 on Saturday, March 7 (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in USA; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada):

“The Earthquakes organization is aware of the recent COVID-19 updates from the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. Public health and safety are our top priorities and we are coordinating with local agencies, the CDC, MLS officials and upcoming opponent Minnesota United FC to ensure the proper measures are taken to protect our community. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates regarding Saturday’s match at Earthquakes Stadium.”

San Jose issued an additional statement on Friday.

The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that Saturday's match against Minnesota United FC at Earthquakes Stadium will go on as scheduled. Kickoff is set for 4:45 p.m.

The Earthquakes are advising that the most at-risk members of our community, including people over 50 years of age and people with underlying health conditions, as well any individual who is currently ill regardless of the severity of the symptoms refrain from attending Saturday's contest.

Earlier this week, MLS shared the league's stance in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, which as of Thursday had seen 199 confirmed Coronavirus cases in the United States and a total of 11 fatalities. The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported 34 cases.

“Major League Soccer has formed a task force to manage the response of the league and its clubs to COVID-19," read the league statement. "The task force is comprised of executives responsible for the principal league functions and includes MLS’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Margot Putukian. The league is in direct contact with the relevant governmental agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health Agency of Canada, and is also coordinating with other sporting organizations. The task force has been monitoring the most recent developments and communicating with MLS clubs regarding appropriate measures to take as the situation continues to evolve.”

Worldwide, there have been 98,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,300 deaths since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.