- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Update: The NBA suspended its season late Wednesday night, so all scheduled Wizards games are called off as of now.

Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards home games during the month of March will go on as scheduled and remain open to fans, Monumental Sports and Entertainment said Wednesday.

Monumental’s decision came hours after the D.C. Department of Health announced a recommendation that “non-essential mass gatherings” in the District through March 31 be postponed or canceled. Mass gatherings are defined as events attended by 1,000 people or more.

Mayor Muriel Bowser urged “any social, cultural, or entertainment events where large crowds are anticipated be reconsidered by the organizer” in a message on Twitter.

Sporting events and concerts are the primary gatherings affected by Bowser’s announcement. Between Wednesday and March 31, the Capitals have seven home games scheduled, as soon as Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings. The Wizards have five home games in that span.

Concerts at Capital One Arena also will go on as scheduled.

“At the current direction of the NBA and NHL, our games will go on as scheduled and be open to spectators,” Monumental’s statement said. “We are in constant contact with both leagues and should they update their guidance, we will update the public accordingly.”

Monumental said it has formed a coronavirus task force and employees are “undertaking additional cleanings in high traffic areas across all of our properties.”

Bowser’s announcement followed a similar recommendation Tuesday by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, which is being expanded to a legally-binding order that will prevent fans from attending events in Ohio like the NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton and other first- and second-round games in Cleveland.

The Capitals are scheduled to visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 19, which is also expected to be affected by the governor’s order.

It remains to be seen what the District’s other pro teams will do following Monumental’s decision. The DC Defenders of the XFL still plan to hold their home game this Sunday at Audi Field with fans in attendance, per a spokesperson. Major League Soccer’s D.C. United has no more home games the rest of the month.

The Nationals do not have regular-season games scheduled for Nationals Park in March — their home opener is April 2 — but they are scheduled to hold one exhibition game on March 24 for fans called the “homecoming game.” The team’s annual “homecoming gala” scheduled for March 23 was canceled before Bowser’s announcement.

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