The OKC Thunder will begin the 2020-2021 NBA season without fans in the arena, according to a statement from the organization.
The new season is set to begin in December with the Thunder playing at San Antonio on Dec. 12.
The organization decided to not have fans in the Chesapeake Energy Arena due to the spread and trends of COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma.
The 2019-2020 NBA season came to a screeching halt when a Utah Jazz basketball player was confirmed to have COVID-19 just before tipoff in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.
It took several months to finish out the season in the bubble in Orlando.
Read the Thunder organization's full statement below:
“As we continue planning for the start of the 2020-21 NBA season, our absolute top priority is the health and safety of our guests and our community. For months, we have worked in close collaboration with Chesapeake Energy Arena, the City of Oklahoma City, local health officials, and the NBA to put into place thorough health and safety measures to allow for reduced seating capacity. 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. Therefore, the Thunder has made the decision to begin the season without fans in the arena.
“We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation over the coming weeks to determine when fans will be able to attend our games.
“We will take all necessary steps to create a safe environment for those who will be in attendance for games as the upcoming season begins, including players, coaches, staff, media and broadcasters.
“We urge everyone to take all the vital steps necessary to control the spread of the virus, especially wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining proper physical distance. As a community, we must all work together to get through this safely and move forward to welcome our fans into the arena to enjoy Thunder Basketball this season.”