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Penguins Say Home Games To Allow Fans During Virus Scare

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NHL Return to Play: Pittsburgh Penguins PPG Paints Arena

With things evolving seemingly by the minute as it relates to the coronavirus and sporting events, the Pittsburgh Penguins issued a statement Wednesday saying their home games will remain open to ticketholders.

Several events around the sporting world, including the NBA and Major League Baseball, are scheduled to be played in front of empty seats, postponed or canceled out of precaution against the spread of the virus. The NHL has not followed suit.

Non-sports events also are being shelved, including St. Patrick’s Day parades in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who host the Penguins on Thursday, made it clear over the past 24 hours that they will continue to hold games and allow fans, although more recently Wednesday Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine indicated that his recommendation to close large events such as sporting events to the public could go from a recommendation to a legal mandate at some point.

Here is the statement released by the Penguins Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the team’s practice in Columbus concluded:

The Pittsburgh Penguins are aware of the most recent guidance and recommendations from the Allegheny County Health Department. We have been in regular contact with the National Hockey League, the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and various health authorities and have determined that, based upon the facts before us, our scheduled home games at PPG Paints Arena, including Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders, will go on as scheduled in front of fans.

In response to growing awareness and concern over Coronavirus COVID-19, the Penguins and PPG Paints Arena have been implementing a number of elevated safety procedures for the game. Providing a safe environment for our fans, players and staff is our first priority.

Following recommendations from the CDC and the NHL league office, and in close consultation with our doctors and medical team at UPMC and other NHL teams, we have implemented the following safeguards at PPG Paints Arena:

  • Sanitary gloves worn by food handlers, ticket takers, ushers and suite attendants
  • Regular cleaning of escalator handrails, stairway railings, door handles and elevator buttons with disinfectant
  • Regular cleaning and sanitizing of arena public areas and rest rooms
  • Reconfiguration of common food-serving areas and services
  • CDC advisory signs posted in rest rooms, advising fans of safety recommendations for washing hands, etc.
  • Hand sanitizers placed around the arena

As a reminder, guests who are feeling sick, who have traveled to or have been in contact with travelers to high risk areas, or who have serious underlying health issues, such as respiratory or cardiac conditions, should not attend events at PPG Paints Arena until further notice.

This is an evolving situation, and we will remain in regular contact with health agencies, the NHL and other authorities for continued advice and direction. Any additional information that becomes available will be communicated to our fans and the general public.

 

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Shelly is the newest columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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