Coronavirus fears threaten Bay Area sporting events

Amid growing precautions and preventive measures to thwart the spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus, concerns over the economic health of some South Bay sports outlets.

The San Jose Sharks left Tuesday for a four-game road trip. Their next home game, against Montreal, is slated for the Mar, 19. But that game could be postponed, moved off-site, or played inside a silent Shark Tank.

“Team Teal’s” last appearance on home ice was a losing proposition. And that streak could continue financially, after Santa Clara County supervisors ordered no gatherings of more than one-thousand people, to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“We’re all susceptible to this virus. But we need to do everything we can to slow it down,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning.

The order hurts sporting events such as the Sharks, and San Jose Earthquakes. Each host several thousand fans for games. Some fans have mixed emotions about the extreme dose of caution.

“I have tickets for the 19th, first game back. I’d like to go. I went last Thursday and Saturday, I don’t see an issue,” said Sharks fan Dennis Eldridge.

Both franchises responded via emailed statements. The Sharks said, “We will adhere to the mandated guidelines…We will be reviewing each scheduled event due to take place for the rest of the month…”

The Quakes said they, “Fully support the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department’s recent announcement..”

Some area businesses that depend on the crowds sporting contests generate are bracing for belt-tightening.

“Just watching your costs in general. Have to keep orders a little lower. Trying to keep labor costs as well. Just got to be a little more efficient,” said David Mulvehill, a partner in O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in Downtown San Jose. Added San Jose State University strategic management professor Dr. Robert Chapman Wood, “People are not going to be spending money. I think people are gonna limit their shopping time as well. So it’s gonna hit the economy quite hard.”

He said Covid-19 could give the economy the flu. But flu-like viruses often fade by Spring, and the economy could see a bounce back. But it’s too soon for the market to make up its mind.

“The fact that it’s going up and down every day is just an illustration of how unclear things are,” said Dr. Wood.

For now, the Sharks are looking at multiple options, that may take their ice show, and the money it generates, elsewhere in the short-term.

“It’ll impact business but we’ll still get through,” said Mulvehill.

The Quakes were set to play Saturday at home, no word on what they’ll do. And the San Jose Barracuda, a minor league hockey team that plays its home games at SAP Center at San Jose, will lose two home games because of the new county order.