Due to the mandate from the governor of Ohio, the Columbus Blue Jackets will play their home games without fans to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are the first NHL team to announce that they will restrict attendance and play their home games without fans in the building due to the spread of coronavirus. On Wednesday, the Blue Jackets announced the mandate will take effect starting Thursday versus the Pittsburgh Penguins and continue on through the rest of the regular season.

While the games will be closed to the public, “admission to games will be limited to home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff and NHL officials,” according to the Blue Jackets’ press release.

The Blue Jackets will continue to televise and broadcast their home games while the ban is in effect:

The health and well-being of our community is our priority and we appreciate the understanding of our fans, corporate partners and guests under these extraordinary circumstances. Our games will continue to be televised regionally on FOX Sports Ohio and available on the Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station 97.1 The Fan or CD102.5 FM (select games) in Columbus.

On Wednesday, Ohio governor Mike DeWine issued a mandate stating the banning of mass gatherings across the state due to coronavirus. Earlier on Wednesday, the NCAA Tournament also announced their tournament will be without fans in attendance.

The Blue Jackets are slated to play five home games before the end of the 2019-20 NHL season. Columbus’ announcement stated the team will comply with the restricted attendance policy until the end of the mandate in the state of Ohio.

The coronavirus first emerged in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. To date, more than 90,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with the virus being identified in more than 70 countries, including the United States. The virus spreads similarly to influenza, with sneezing and coughing as the primary vectors of infection.

On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the virus a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” In order to contain the spread of the virus, countries around the world have implemented travel bans, curfews and quarantines.

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For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.