On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health issued a series of recommended policies to stop the spread of COVID-19, including limiting non-essential gatherings to no more than 250 people with smaller events only proceeding if organizers can implement social distancing of six feet per person. The state's public heath experts also recommended that events with people at higher risk of contracting the virus should limited to no more than 10 people and also follow strict social distancing protocol.
Implementation of the state's guidelines would directly impact upcoming events such as Major League Baseball's Opening Day, which takes place on March 26 and potentially, if the guidelines are extended, Anaheim's sci-fi and comic book convention WonderCon, which is held April 10-12.
The new public health guidelines come as a number of the state's organizations implement their own plans to deal with the spread of COVID-19, a situation given further impetus after the World Health Organization officially declared the rapid spread of the virus as a pandemic on Wednesday. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Entertainment Software Association, the NBA and the Overwatch League are among the growing number of organizations and companies to cancel large gatherings in the last 24 hours.
COVID-19 has resulted in more than 4,600 deaths worldwide and affected more than 125,000 people in numerous countries, per Johns Hopkins University's case tracker. On Wednesday night, the U.S. took drastic measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which now has over 1,300 confirmed cases. Homeland Security officials stated that new travel restrictions would apply to most foreign nationals who have been in Europe's "Schengen Area" at any point for 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.