What N.J.’s teams, venues have to say about coronavirus closures

With Gov. Phil Murphy recommending a ban on all gatherings of more than 250 people, as well as widespread cancellations and suspensions of play in a variety of professional and collegiate sports, Thursday was an unprecedented day for New Jersey’s athletic and entertainment organizations and venues.

Here’s a look at the status updates and portions of the statements from some of the major teams and sites in the state.

Sports teams and venues

  • The New Jersey Devils, who play in Newark’s Prudential Center:

“The New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center are supportive of the NHL’s decision to suspend the season. Similarly, in consultation with our live event partners, promoters and artists, we have postponed all events at the Prudential Center through the end of March. The health and well-being of our fans, players, performers, artists, staff members, partners and communities are of the utmost importance, and we remain in close communication with public health, state and local officials during this challenging period.”

  • The New York Red Bulls, who play at Red Bull Arena in Harrison:

“The New York Red Bulls support Major League Soccer and United Soccer League’s decisions to suspend the MLS and USL seasons in the best interest of public health. The Red Bulls have been continuously monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 in the New York/New Jersey metro area, and have worked closely with MLS, USL and local authorities to maintain up-to-date plans and protocols consistent with recommendations from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our fans, players and staff. As an organization, we will continue to take precautions for the well-being of players and staff during the suspension and urge all of our supporters and the general public to do the same.”

  • Sky Blue FC, the women’s soccer team playing at Red Bull Arena:

“After receiving guidance from local and state authorities and medical personnel, the National Women’s Soccer League is canceling the 2020 preseason match schedule in the wake of the most recent developments surrounding COVID-19. This includes Sky Blue FC matches that were set to take place during a preseason trip to North Carolina.

“The club will also be postponing two fan-related events: the March 18 Cloud 9 members event scheduled and the March 28 Open Training session for Season Ticket Members.”

  • The New York Guardians of the XFL, who play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, shared a statement from the league:

“Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular season games. However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit towards future games. The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years.”

  • The New York Giants, who play at MetLife Stadium, are curtailing offseason activities:

“As of (Thursday) and for the foreseeable future, we have taken our scouts and coaches off the road for pro days and campus workouts. All business travel has been suspended until further notice. In addition, we will limit visitors and personnel to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center and have required most of our employees to work from home for the next two weeks.”

The New York Jets, who also play at MetLife, have not yet issued any statement.

  • Rutgers University, whose Division I teams play at the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus, issued a statement from Athletics Director Pat Hobbs:

“The announcement by the Big Ten Conference (Thursday) to cancel athletic competition for the remainder of this academic year is in everyone’s best interest. The healthiest among us will sacrifice their athletic pursuits to aid our nation in its efforts to contain the spread of this virus. We are deeply disappointed for our student-athletes. Their success on the fields and courts thrill us. They swell our chests with pride. Their success in the classroom reminds us what a wonderful path to lifelong success athletics provides. I know you join me in saying thank you to these wonderful young men and women. This has been a tremendous season for the Scarlet Knights.

“This hiatus from competition will, I’m sure, remind us of just how much joy our teams bring to our daily lives. Hopefully, their sacrifice, along with all the other actions that are being undertaken, will bring an end to this health crisis as quickly as possible. Then our student-athletes and coaches can return to writing what I believe will be Rutgers Athletics’ greatest chapter.”

  • Seton Hall University, whose Division I teams play on the South Orange campus, among other facilities:

“Following (Thursday’s) response to the NCAA canceling its winter and spring championships, the Big East Conference has announced the cancelation of the 2020 spring season. As a result, all Seton Hall Athletics spring competition, both home and away, has been canceled. The health and welfare of all student-athletes, coaches and staff are of the utmost importance, and this decision was made for their best interests and the best interests of public health.

“We are disappointed that our student-athletes do not have the opportunity to compete for championships, as they work very hard for these opportunities, but this is an unprecedented time for our country, our university and our athletic department.”

Theaters and other entertainment venues

  • New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark:

“On the evening of 3/13 (Friday), NJPAC will suspend performances for 30 days. The health of our patrons, staff, artists and community is our primary concern. Along with Gov. Murphy and (Newark Mayor Ras Baraka), we believe preventing community spread of this virus is a responsibility we all share.

“While we never like our stages to be empty, these unique circumstances require that we make the well-being of everyone engaged with NJPAC our first priority.”

  • The State Theatre New Jersey, in New Brunswick:

“As you know, in response to the increased cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, Gov. Murphy has recommended that gatherings of 250 or more people be canceled or postponed. We are taking his recommendation seriously and, out of concern for the health and safety of our guests and staff, we are either postponing or canceling our March shows. We will take a closer look at shows in April and beyond and will send updates in the coming weeks.”

For the Prudential Center, see the comment from the New Jersey Devils.

Other New Jersey companies

  • Pennsauken-based J&J Snack Foods Corp. said it expects sales to be affected because its products are sold at major venues including schools, stadiums and amusement parks. The company noted that its sales at such venues is approximately $350-400 million annually:

“J&J Snack Foods Corp. announced (Thursday) that it expects its results of operations to be impacted by the closings and anticipated lower attendance and traffic at many of the venues and locations where its products are sold, such as schools, stadiums and arenas, movie theaters, amusement parks and restaurants, and by a general slowdown in activity throughout the United States resulting from the effects of the coronavirus.”

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