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Monumental Sports defied D.C. Health recommendations before NBA season was suspended

The Washington Wizards and Capitals will continue to play games with fans in the stands. Concerts will also go on as scheduled, minus the Celine Dion concert for tonight which was postponed yesterday.

Wizards Ballers and Bowling Party
For now, the Washington Wizards are continuing to play games in front of fans, until further notice.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE on Mar. 12 at 7:30 p.m ET — All events at Capital One Arena are off until April, including the Nick Cannon tour and the Billie Eilish concert.

UPDATE on Mar. 11, at 9:50 p.m. ETThe NBA season is suspended. The original post is below.

On Wednesday, Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced that all events at Capital One Arena will go on as scheduled until further notice. Washington Wizards and Capitals games will continue to have spectators for the time being. So tomorrow’s Capitals game against the Detroit Red Wings will still be on. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET.

Future concerts at the arena will still go on, including a Nick Cannon “Wild ‘N Out” show on Friday and a Billie Eilish concert next Wednesday.

A Celine Dion concert was scheduled for today, but it was rescheduled for Nov. 16 on TUESDAY, OR YESTERDAY because Dion had a common cold. The emphasis is mine.

The news is sort of surprising given all the news that came that same day regarding the virus. So let’s review.

The DC Health department recommended that large gatherings be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus or Covid-19 on Wednesday. The D.C. government also declared a State of Emergency. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic, or a disease that cannot be confined on Wednesday as well.

And if DC government and authoritative groups’ recommendations weren’t enough, the coronavirus has changed things in American sports. The NCAA also announced that the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played with empty stands, minus close families. That’s in addition to the Golden State Warriors being forced to play two home games in front of empty stands.

All of that said, this news is not surprising. While it’s easy to say that “Ted Leonsis is ALL ABOUT THOSE DOLLARS,” it’s not just Leonsis who “pockets money” after every Wizards and Capitals game. Or every Aventura concert, since they performed there last week.

Playing games without fans or cancelling them altogether will hurt many average joes financially. We’re not talking about players or Ted Leonsis. But we’re talking about the ushers in the stands, or the restaurant workers throughout Chinatown and nearby Penn Quarter, or the Uber or Lyft driver who picks you up after the game or concert.

Ultimately, the decision to close or not is really a difficult one for Monumental Sports, especially when there is leeway to keep things open. After all, the D.C. government did not ban mass gatherings. Yet.

In the statement, Monumental Sports noted that they were recommended by the NBA and NHL to operate with a “business as usual” mentality until otherwise. Here is that specific quote:

At the current direction of the NBA and NHL, our games will go on as scheduled and be open to spectators. We are in constant contact with both leagues and should they update their guidance, we will update the public accordingly.

The release did go on to say that a decision regarding concerts rests on the artists’ promoters, like Cannon’s and Eilish’s.

Coronavirus is no joke. I know, I’ve written about this topic every day this week. But it’s affecting our daily lives, at least indirectly. And if you’re not a news-buff, I still feel that we should do our part to keep you informed. It’s the right thing to do.