Get ready for spectator-free hockey at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus. According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will issue an order in the next 24-to-36 hours that includes no spectators will be allowed at NHL and NBA games in the State. That includes the Cleaveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus will have no choice but the comply with the order. According to Portzline, media and team staff will be allowed at the games, but no spectators.
Columbus has four home games left in March: Against Pittsburgh tomorrow, Nashville on Saturday the 12th, Washington on the 19th and the New York Islanders on the 30th. There's also a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 2nd, the team's last home game of the season.
With COVID 19 now declared a global pandemic, concerns are rising and many more precautions are being put in place. Several European hockey leagues have already either cancelled or postponed their playoff rounds. As the number of cases continues to rise in this part of the world, it seems a forgone conclusion that the NHL playoffs will be impacted in some way. Whether that's the cancellation of games or games being played without spectators remains to be seen.
The San Jose Sharks are also impacted by an order stating no gatherings of over 1000 people. It appears that team will also be playing games without people in the stands.