WESTERLY — Westerly High's boys basketball state tournament game with Cranston West on Thursday at Federico Gym will be a ticketed-only event with just 250 attendees due to the coronavirus threat.
Tickets will not be sold at the door, according to an email from athletic director Jamey Vetelino. All the tickets for the event have been accounted for.
Fifty tickets will be allotted to Cranston West. After players, coaches, cheerleaders, officials and game workers have been accounted for, Westerly athletes will distribute the remaining tickets to family and friends. The game starts at 6 p.m.
The policy is in line with what is being done at nearly all the other host schools for the boys and girls state basketball tournaments, according to numerous posts on social media.
Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, issued updated information concerning large events Wednesday.
“I am asking for the partnership and support of people who are organizing large events,” Raimondo said in a news release. “In accordance with the best science from [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], I am asking that certain events be canceled or postponed. I know that this is an inconvenience. I am enormously appreciative of everyone’s patience as all of us — government, the business community, and all Rhode Islanders — work together to keep Rhode Island healthy and safe.”
The guidelines said events with 250 or more people should not be organized or attended, such as parties, sporting events and parades. It does not apply to the normal school day or to workplaces.
Chariho's girls basketball state tournament game at South Kingstown on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. will also be limited to 250 attendees. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
The University of Rhode Island issued a news release Wednesday afternoon that said fans would be prohibited from "currently scheduled interscholastic league sporting events."
Hockey championships for Division I and Division II are scheduled to start at URI's Boss Arena on Friday. The girls and boys basketball state tournament semifinals and title games are scheduled for the Ryan Center on March 21 and March 22.
But later in the day, the RIIL posted on social media that the URI update was premature and no decision had been made about attendance at those events.
A final resolution concerning the hockey community emerged when Mount St. Charles took to Twitter and posted that no fans would be allowed to attend this weekend’s hockey finals. The news was confirmed by a Mount school official. The second-seeded Mounties are scheduled to face top-seeded La Salle in the Division I final. The D-II final features No. 3 seed South Kingstown taking on No. 4 East Greenwich.
Looking ahead to the Elite Eight state basketball playoff games that are scheduled for Sunday, it’s possible that the boys won’t be heading to CCRI-Warwick as was originally planned. Instead, the quarterfinal games could take place on school sites — a suggestion that was mentioned when RIIL leaders met with athletic directors on Wednesday morning.
As of 9 p.m. Wednesday night, the girls Elite Eight games are slated to be held at Rhode Island College.
In Connecticut, an estimated crowd of about 500 protested at CIAC headquarters in Cheshire. The crowd was reportedly comprised mostly of students. Some coaches and athletic directors were also in attendance.
The CIAC on Tuesday made the decision to cancel all state tournaments for the winter season.
The decision resulted in an abrupt end to the Wheeler High boys basketball season. The Lions' second-round Division V state tournament game against Bullard-Havens was among those canceled.
The CIAC's decision also ended the season for Stonington High swimmers on a co-op team. The New England gymnastics meet was also canceled. Stonington's Hanna Laskey and Olivia Laskey had qualified.
— Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times contributed to this report.