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Sharks to play without fans vs. Arizona Coyotes due to coronavirus

A general view of the San Jose Sharks playing against the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center on October 04, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

An Arizona Coyotes road game against the San Jose Sharks later this month will be played in an empty SAP Center because of preventative coronavirus measures.

The San Jose Sharks announced Wednesday that their home arena, the SAP Center, will be closed to the public for at least the next three home games: March 19 vs. Montreal, March 21 vs. Boston and March 29 vs. Arizona.

Only club personnel, approved credentialed media and broadcast partners, NHL officials and arena staff will be allowed in.

The SAP Center is also home to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. The same policy will apply for those games. The team said it will work to issue refunds or “appropriate credits” for affected games.

This is the first known coronavirus-caused alteration of a game for the Coyotes, who have 12 games remaining in their season starting Thursday with a home game against Vancouver. Eight of the Coyotes’ final 12 games are at home, with the road games coming in Los Angeles, Vegas, San Jose and Colorado in that order.

The Coyotes issued their own statement on Wednesday regarding coronavirus, outlining the preventative measures the team is taking to enhance fan safety as the threat of coronavirus takes center-stage. For example, the team said it is adding cleaning staff to events to clean surfaces and will install hand sanitizer stations around the arena.

The team is also encouraging fans who are feeling sick or those who are among those most vulnerable to this illness to stay home.

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