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MLS joins NBA, MLB, NHL in limiting locker room access amid coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Major League Soccer on Monday released a joint statement with MLB, the NBA and the NHL announcing the temporary limiting of access to locker rooms following games and practices. The announcement comes in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which to date has seen more than 650 confirmed cases in the United States and 26 deaths. A further 72 cases have been confirmed in Canada.

"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," read the joint statement. "Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning tomorrow'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."

Last week, MLS announced the setting up of a task force to manage the response of the league and its clubs to COVID-19. 

It confirmed that "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."