GREENSBORO, N.C. (WBTV) – The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) men’s basketball tournament will continue without fans as North Carolina is under a state of emergency due to coronavirus concerns.
The tournament, being held this week at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, started Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, officials announced that the ACC will alter the remainder of the ACC Tournament to where all games will be played with only essential tournament personnel, limited school administrators and student-athlete guests, broadcast television and credentialed media members present.
This goes into effect beginning Thursday, March 12. The decision was made after consultation with the league’s presidents and athletic directors.
“In light of the rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19, the latest developments nationally from health authorities and today’s announcement by the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, the ACC will alter the remainder of the ACC Tournament,” a press release read.
Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina amid coronavirus concerns Tuesday, a day after officials announced a total of seven positive COVID-19 cases in the state.
Fans streamed into the tournament Wednesday just as the NCAA was announcing that it’s tournament would not be open to fans. Fears over the coronavirus led to the NCAA decision.
In Greensboro, hand sanitizing stations were set up throughout the coliseum earlier Wednesday.
“Use common sense and self protection,” said Greg Knights who brought his whole family to the tournament to cheer on North Carolina State.
Everyone said they were aware of the virus but also said they would do what was necessary to stay safe.
Natalie and Will Thomas traveled to Greensboro from Louisville for the tournament. They just recently returned from New Zealand and already have a cruise to the Caribbean set up for next month. Both are 70 years old but said they did not fear the coronavirus.
“You got to go on living life,” said Will.
Natalie said they will, however, be aware of their surroundings and wash hands often.
“I do it five or six times a day now,” she said.
Conference USA will also implement a restricted attendance procedure for the remainder of the 2020 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Basketball Championships following consultation with the NCAA, local authorities and related health and safety officials. All remaining games will be played with the official team party, student-athlete family, credentialed media, television and radio crews, and essential personnel. The event will be closed to the general public.
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