The San Jose Sharks will be impacted in some form by Santa Clara County’s public gathering ban in wake of the coronavirus.

The San Jose Sharks’ three remaining home games in the month of March are in jeopardy after Santa Clara County’s new ban on public gatherings goes into effect this week. Due to the county’s first coronavirus death, Santa Clara, California has enacted a mass gathering ban that will impact events of more than 1,000 people.

The ban is set to last until the end of March, during which three Sharks home games are set to be played at SAP Center in downtown San Jose.

Reports surfaced on Monday night that SAP Center was set to cancel all events — including those three Sharks games — in the wake of the public gathering ban. However, the Sharks have confirmed that they are not outright canceling their three home games, but will instead “be reviewing each scheduled event due to take place for the rest of the month and provide an update in the coming days.”

On Monday night, the Sharks posted a press release detailing that the club “will adhere” to the upcoming ban:

SAP Center at San Jose is aware of the County of Santa Clara’s Public Health Department order to prohibit public and private mass gatherings through the end of March. We will adhere to the mandated guidelines. No events are scheduled at SAP Center until Tues., March 17. We will be reviewing each scheduled event due to take place for the rest of the month and provide an update in the coming days. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans, guests and partners during this unprecedented time.

It is unlikely that the three Sharks home games will be outright canceled — with their next home game upcoming on March 19 against Montreal, with a March 21 game against Boston afterward and a March 29 game against Arizona rounding out San Jose’s last home games of the month. Instead, the Sharks likely have three avenues of possibility for their remaining March home games:

  1. Play the three games at the SAP Center without fans.
  2. Find a neutral site to play those games at.
  3. Postpone the three games and reschedule them for a later date.

The third option seems less likely, given there is less than one month remaining in the 2019-20 NHL season and the schedule is already compact as it is. Given that the NHL has talked about playing hockey games without fans due to the coronavirus, that option seems the most likely, though with the amount of time the Sharks have until their next scheduled home game, a neutral site is possible.

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.

Next: How is the coronavirus affecting sports?

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