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Despite widespread concern over COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, this weekend’s Overwatch League homestand in Washington D.C. is still happening.
The league released a statement March 6 informing fans of their decision to move forward with the event. Minimal changes will occur to create a safer environment for all attendees, including the alteration of a planned meet and greet event with players.
“Based on a comprehensive review of all available guidelines, this weekend’s event in Washington, D.C., at The Anthem, will continue as planned,” the Overwatch League said in a statement. Eight teams have already traveled to the D.C. area to join the Washington Justice in preparation for the event.
The planned meet and greet experience with players will be changed to a “question and answer” panel after the final match of each game day. At previous homestands, fans got the chance to meet with select players after matches for autographs and pictures. This change effectively minimizes the physical contact fans and players will have.
Other changes at the homestand include extensive cleaning of the venue each day, signs reminding attendees to wash hands, and increased access to hand sanitizer. The Overwatch League has not opted for the enhanced precautions taken by the Call of Duty League for its event in Los Angeles this weekend. The CDL fully cancelled meet and greet sessions, autograph signings, and team walkouts with players.
Six total Overwatch League homestands have been canceled due to the coronavirus. Five Chinese homestands were canceled in February and March. A homestand event was supposed to take place in Seoul, South Korea this weekend, but was also canceled because of the virus threat. As esports events across the world continue to be postponed or canceled, more homestands could be threatened in the future.
This will be the second Overwatch League homestand hosted by the Washington Justice. The weekend’s games begin with the Toronto Defiant taking on the Florida Mayhem at 2pm CT on March 7.