Crews clean, disinfect Tacoma Dome ahead of WIAA high school basketball tournament

VIDEO: High school basketball tournament to go on as scheduled despite coronavirus outbreak

TACOMA, Wash. — Crews are getting the seats and the basketball courts ready inside the Tacoma Dome for the annual Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association high school basketball tournament. And this year they're doing things a bit differently. Carefully wiping down handrails and surfaces that people touch repeatedly during the four days of games. Steps to help stem possible spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus.

“We’re making sure that cleaning crews are going through more than regularly during the event,” said Tacoma Venues and Events Director Kim Bedier.

The yearly tournament has drawn crowds as large as 35,000 -- family members and fans who watch teams from the state's largest high schools battle it out for the top spot. That means a lot of people gathering under a single massive roof at a time when a highly contagious virus is spreading.

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The WIAA made the call to keep the tournament on schedule saying in a statement on its website, “The WIAA has been working with arena staff at each of the three sites to disinfect high-touch areas with EPA approved disinfectant.” Tournaments are also being held in Yakima and Spokane.

Extra measures like portable hand sanitizing stations are being added at restrooms and entrances to help people stay safe. “We had already stocked up on hand sanitizer stations, they’re all in place,” said Bedier. “We’re posting all of the restrooms with the now well-known edict to wash your hands, sing Happy Birthday twice while you’re doing it.”

The WIAA and Tacoma Dome have posted links to the Tacoma Pierce County Health Departments and Centers for Disease Control guidelines.