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Local sports officials monitoring coronavirus as events go on as scheduled

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Posted at 8:04 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 20:06:03-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Leaders at Bankers Life Fieldhouse said they are ready and prepared to host events even as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

Mel Raines, executive vice president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment said fans at the women's Big Ten basketball tournament might notice signs around the arena reminding them of basic health and hygiene tips. They will also see extra hand sanitizer and employees cleaning more frequently.

Along with the women's tournament, the men's Big Ten basketball tournament begins next Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Pacers are scheduled to play six home games this month.

"We certainly hope we have fans coming to enjoy all the events we have in March," Raines said. "We are also taking extra precautions to be sure that we are disinfecting and sanitizing all of the surfaces that fans touch regularly. Door knobs, handrails and those types of things. We do that well anyway, but we are calling in extra staff to make sure we are doing it even more often."

Raines said the organization is staying in constant communication with the health department, but there is no reason to believe any cancellations or changes to events will be made.

"We are taking the advice of the Marion County Health Department and state at this point," Raines said. "It is their advice that mass gatherings continue and so we will continue to stay in touch with them and this situation will continue to evolve, but we anticipate holding all of our events as normal."

Fans at Friday's Big Ten tournament said they were not concerned about going to the games.

"We talked about it. We are not overly concerned about it," Rebecca White said. "We are assuming it is going to arrive in our state and our town, and we are just going to practice best safe practices and continue doing whatever we want to do."

Other sports organizations respond to outbreak

The Indiana Sports Corp released a statement Friday saying they are working closely with the county and state health departments and, as of now, all events will continue as scheduled. The NCAA men's basketball Midwest Regional is scheduled for March 26 and 28 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Indiana Sports Corp is aware of the public health emergency declaration issued by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb regarding novel coronavirus (COVID)-19.

In an effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all parties involved in the events we host, Indiana Sports Corp, its partners, and host venues are meeting regularly to assess conditions. We will continue to work closely with and implement guidance from the Marion County Public Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health regarding the prevention and spread of novel coronavirus. We will provide updated information as needed.

At this time, all events will continue to be hosted as scheduled, and we will continue to receive updates from the Marion County Public Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health, facilities, and event partners leading up to and during all events.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association also released a statement saying its officials are monitoring the situation as the high school basketball boys sectionals continue.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. is aware of the case of COVID-19 in Marion County, IN that was reported this morning. We will continue to monitor the developments and listen to medical experts and if it becomes necessary to make adjustments to high school sporting events, we will work with our member schools to take every precaution to ensure a healthy and safe environment for everyone involved.

Additionally, with the Horizon League men's and women's basketball tournaments in town Monday and Tuesday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the league said in a statement it is continuing to work with state and local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control to monitor the coronavirus.

In regards to the novel coronavirus (COVID)-19, the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, team personnel and fans are of the utmost importance.

The Horizon League is aware of the public health emergency declaration issued by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb regarding novel coronavirus (COVID)-19. The Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center (ISFEC) already has preventative measures in place. The ISFEC is diligent in reminding guests and staff to practice good personal hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water frequently and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The Indiana Farmers Coliseum offers many handwashing locations, hand sanitizing stations and signage in the venue. The ISFEC regularly cleans surfaces and items touched often by guests and team members.

We continue to work with state/local health authorities and the CDC to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and will provide updated information as needed.