Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + project FAQ (pinned post)

Venue operators (including Barclays) must be wary, as coronavirus concerns could lead to "canceling mass gatherings"

One contingency built into Barclays Center financing is a "strike fund," which approximates about $20 million, on the chance that labor troubles affect the National Basketball Association. There's another, more general fund in reserve for debt service to pay off construction.

But there's no specific fund for event interruptions caused by public health issues. (Again, there is a general reserve fund.) Presumably that's because such interruptions were seen as statistically rare. Now they have to be contemplated, at Barclays and other major venues in the city, state, and country.

On 2/25/20, as the New York Times reported in C.D.C. Officials Warn of Coronavirus Outbreaks in the U.S.:
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing. 
She said that cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures,” like dividing school classes into smaller groups of students or closing schools altogether. Meetings and conferences may have to be canceled, she said. Businesses should arrange for employees to work from home.
ew York Times, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020
Arena operators must be wary

So, like any operator of major venues, those behind the Barclays Center must be looking warily at the news, just as those planning to visit the arena for an event will have to assess changing perceptions of risk.

(Note: they haven't said anything publicly--nor I have queried them--but I'm making an informed assumption.)

That doesn't mean a worst-case scenario, such as canceled events, since the virus has not yet spread in the United States or New York on a large-scale basis. But the news around the world is ominous.

As ESPN reported, "the Chinese Basketball Association remains indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak." The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo might be cancelled.
New York Times, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

As the Times reported, Coronavirus Spreads to Soccer’s Schedule, Closing Stadiums and Stranding Teams. One game in Milan was being played without spectators, while games have been canceled in China, South Korea and Japan.

So venue operators must be considering contingency plans to enhance hygiene and reschedule or cancel events.

And in New York

There have been events canceled at Barclays in the past--remember how Superstorm Sandy closed the subways?--but nothing on a sustained basis.
New York Times, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020

But this is a new process of scenario planning. As the New York Times reported yesterday:
Officials are also consulting state and federal playbooks for potential plans, including measures like closing schools, day care centers and businesses; canceling mass gatherings and curtailing mass transit, although they caution that taking such steps is only being considered in worst-case scenarios.
The Times noted:
But the effect on daily life in America’s most populous city could be dramatic: Staggering or limiting public transportation; a shutdown of the country’s largest school system would leave 1.1 million children at home; and a sharp drop in the nearly 70 million tourists who visit the city each year could put a financial strain on local businesses. (Tourism from China has already been restricted.)
Prevention, risks, and perspective

Here's the main page on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control. Here's advice for travelers. Here's their page on prevention, which recommends:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • --CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • --Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • --If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Note, as the Atlantic reported, an expert estimated that 40 to 70 percent of people worldwide will be infected, but most cases are not life-threatening, with many people getting a mild disease or asymptomatic. As with the flu, those already compromised by age or infirmity face the highest risk.

Comments