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US: NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS closing locker rooms amid virus scare

The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all nonessential personnel, including media, in response to the coronavirus crisis, the leagues announced in a joint statement Monday night.

They said they made the decision “after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.” The NBA, in a call with teams earlier Monday, stressed that the move is not to ban reporters but to ensure the safety of players and staff in those areas.

The statement, in part, read: “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. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.”

The changes, which the leagues say are temporary, will begin Tuesday — though some NHL teams began putting them into use this past weekend and the Buffalo Sabres did the same on Monday night. The NBA said interviews with players would continue in different settings, stressing a gap of 6-to-8 feet between reporters and interview subjects.

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