Despite earlier plans to the contrary, the Oklahoma City Thunder won't have fans in attendance for their home games when the NBA season begins, the team announced Monday.
The decision came about three weeks after the team announced it expected to have protocols in place to allow for reduced seating capacity at Chesapeake Energy Center, which normally can hold just over 18,000.
"However, as we review ongoing and concerning trends in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Oklahoma, we want to exercise an abundance of caution to help control the spread of the virus in our community," the team's front office released in a statement. "Therefore, the Thunder has made the decision to begin the season without fans in the arena."
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the state has seen more than 197,000 cases of COVID-19 (including 23,227 last week), with more than 1,700 deaths.
The NBA has not released its regular-season schedule, although the first games are to be played on Dec. 22.
--Field Level Media