SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will not play their scheduled Bay Bridge Series game against the A's on March 24 because of the continued spread of COVID-19, the team announced Wednesday morning. The announcement came a few minutes after the City of San Francisco prohibited gatherings of more than 1,000 people for at least the next two weeks.
In a statement, the Giants said they are working with Major League Baseball and the A's to finalize alternative arrangements and would make further information available as soon as possible.
"The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us," the Giants said in the statement. "We have been in close coordination with Major League Baseball and our local health and government agencies to monitor and plan for any potential impacts of COVID-19."
The Giants had been scheduled to return to the Bay Area on March 21 and play an exhibition against the River Cats in Sacramento the next day. The Bay Bridge Series games were scheduled as a home-and-home for March 23-24, with the season starting March 26 in Los Angeles. The Giants don't play their home opener until April 3, but they have 16 scheduled games at Oracle Park through the end of April. In the statement, the organization noted that there are no other large public gatherings scheduled at Oracle Park during the time period of the current ban.
Last month, San Francisco mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in the city, where many of the tech firms based downtown already have sent employees home, some telling them to work from home until at least April 10. In announcing the ban Wednesday morning, she said the measure was "necessary to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community."
"We know that this Order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health," Breed said in a statement. "We're following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. We know canceling these events is a challenge for everyone and we've been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health."
The latest ban is in line with other decisions made by state and local officials as the virus has spread. Santa Clara County already had banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people and the governor of Washington has banned events with more than 250 people in the Seattle area, which likely will impact the start of the season for the Mariners.
The Giants have regularly been in touch with city officials, as well as the CDC and their counterparts in other sports. Team doctors and members of the training staff have regularly been on conference calls with MLB's medical panel.
The Giants have been double-cleaning their facility in Scottsdale and have made plans to do the same at Oracle Park. Earlier this week, MLB banned reporters from the clubhouse for the time being. The players and staff held a team meeting last Friday at Scottsdale Stadium to discuss precautions, with recommendations to increase handwashing and limit the signing of autographs.
"Safety is the number one priority, the safety of our fans and our employees," team president and CEO Larry Baer said last week. "We're monitoring closely whether to take additional measures. It's day to day."