The Wells Fargo Center has postponed all events scheduled through March 31 later date, as both the NBA and the NHL have suspended their seasons over coronavirus concerns. The venue was closed for cleaning on Thursday.
“We are asking fans to hold their tickets as we determine plans to reschedule events,” a spokesperson for the Wells Fargo Center said in a statement. "We will continue to closely monitor the situation and will share information as it becomes available.”
Thursday night’s Day + Shay concert has been rescheduled to Sept. 28. Friday night’s concert featuring Grammy Award-winning singer Billie Eilish has yet to be rescheduled.
The announcement comes as Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration has banned all events in Philadelphia with 1,000 or more attendees.
NBC Sports Philadelphia employees, whose office is inside the Wells Fargo Center, were notified early Thursday morning that building would be closed for a deep cleaning and that they should not report to the facility, according to a memo obtained by the Inquirer.
“I got word today that the Wells Fargo Center is closed today for cleaning. So don’t come in, basically,” 97.5 The Fanatic host Marc Farzetta, who is also a multi-platform host on NBC Sports Philadelphia, said on his show Thursday morning.
The cleaning was done out of an abundance of caution after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday. The Jazz played the Detroit Pistons on March 7, and the Sixers played the Pistons Wednesday night.
Philadelphia city officials earlier this week asked residents to avoid large gatherings to tame the spread of the new coronavirus. But events remained scheduled at the Wells Fargo Center, which was set to, over the course of a week, host four Flyers games, three Sixers games, a professional lacrosse game, and two concerts, including the now-postponed Dan + Shay and Billie Eilish shows.
All of Billie Eilish tour dates have been postponed until further notice, starting with the teen star’s Wells Fargo Center show.
“I’m so sad to do this but we need to postpone these dates to keep everyone safe,” Eilish said in a statement. "We’ll let you know when they can be rescheduled. please keep yourselves healthy. I love you.”
But the calculus changed late Wednesday night, when the NBA announced it had canceled the remainder of its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus. The NHL made a similar announcement on Thursday.
“This is bigger than hockey, bigger than sports in general,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said at the team’s hotel in Tampa. “I think the commissioner and the board of governors made the only rational decision they could make at this point and time. Hopefully, it’s just a pause and the situation gets better and we have a chance to come back and play some meaningful hockey.”
Public health administrators and organizations across the country are facing pressure to limit gatherings in a process called “social distancing,” which experts say can delay and slow the spread of infectious disease.