Stoke City players have been advised not to shake hands, pose for photographs or sign autographs as the club takes steps to protect their wellbeing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The club has confirmed that appearances at community events will also be stopped for the foreseeable future to reduce the risk of players and staff being exposed to the virus.
In a statement released this evening, Stoke say it is with ‘deep regret’ that they are taking the measures.
It says: “This is a decision that we have not taken lightly and, whilst we acknowledge this will be disappointing for some supporters, this is a temporary measure to protect the ongoing wellbeing of the squad and we hope you understand.”
Stoke City have been closely monitoring the development of the coronavirus outbreak, or COVID-19.
As a Club we are taking positive steps to reduce the risk of our employees possibly being exposed to the virus, in particular the first team squad.
It is therefore with deep regret that the club announces that players will not be taking part in community appearances for the foreseeable future.
During this period, players have also been advised not to shake hands, pose for photos or sign autographs before and after games and training sessions at Clayton Wood.
This is a decision that we have not taken lightly and, whilst we acknowledge this will be disappointing for some supporters, this is a temporary measure to protect the ongoing wellbeing of the squad and we hope you understand
Coronavirus is spread via droplets from the nose and mouth and can be transmitted on to the hands and passed on via a handshake.
Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and other illnesses such as food poisoning and flu. For the most up to date guide on best practice when washing your hands, please click here.
The EFL has today confirmed that pre-match handshakes will not take place at games in the Championship, League One and League Two this weekend.
A statement from the league adds: “Match day operations at EFL grounds are set to continue this weekend with clubs being advised to take appropriate prevention measures as per the Government guidance.
“It is understood, however, that individual clubs may take decisions at a local level to help mitigate the risk of the virus spreading further ahead of this weekend’s matches.
“The EFL continues to remain in regular dialogue with the Government regarding the ongoing developments and is being appraised on a regular basis of developments that could potentially impact our clubs and competitions.
“We will continue to provide EFL clubs with updates and advice as it is issued to ensure that they have all the relevant up-to date information so that they can continue to advise their players, staff and supporters.
“These matters are subject to constant change and we will update as appropriate.”