And so it begins.

The Golden State Warriors will play Thursday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets without fans in attendance at Chase Center due to fears over the coronavirus. The Warriors made the stunning announcement Wednesday.

“Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, tomorrow night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans. Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid.”

Chase Center also announced the cancellation or postponement of all events through March 21.

San Francisco, where Chase Center is located, announced Wednesday a ban on gatherings of 1,000-plus people.

“We know canceling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health,” San Francisco mayor London Breed said, per The Los Angeles Times’ Rong-Gong Lin II.” Today I spoke with the Warriors to discuss the steps we’re taking to cancel large events, and they are in support of our efforts.”

The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS jointly announced Monday they’ll close locker rooms and clubhouses to media and nonessential staff members.

The Warriors’ next home game is scheduled for March 25 when they’re due to host the Atlanta Hawks.

The Nets-Warriors game will be first in the major North American professional sports leagues to play games behind closed doors. Coronavirus fears already have impacted soccer games around Europe, with various games taking place without fans, and forced the cancellation of the Rome Marathon.

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Thumbnail photo via Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Images