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Hotel that asked Yeshiva University’s basketball team to leave over coronavirus has Jewish owners

A Baltimore-area hotel that asked the basketball team of Yeshiva University, which has one confirmed student infected with coronavirus, to spend the night before their first playoff game at another hotel has Jewish owners, according to a statement from hotel management.

The DoubleTree in Pikesville, a heavily Orthodox suburb of Baltimore, called the Yeshiva team about cancelling their reservation on Thursday afternoon, less than an hour before the team arrived at the hotel. The school ended up reserving hotel rooms for the team in downtown Baltimore.

Follow along with live updates about coronavirus in the Jewish community here.

The team’s coach called the incident “discrimination.”

“I made it very clear to the hotel that it’s discrimination,” Elliot Steinmetz told the AP. “I basically said to them: ‘Do you have a checkbox on your website that says that you’ve been in an area with suspected coronavirus?’ And they said no. So I said: ‘Is it just for the guests of Yeshiva University?’ And they said yes. I told them that that’s called discrimination.”

The coach later clarified to the New York Post that he did not consider the incident to be evidence of religious discrimination.

The hotel said that it helped relocate the team and that they were taking precautionary measures, as Yeshiva closed its main campus in upper Manhattan earlier this week after a student at the school was confirmed to have coronavirus. The student has not been on the campus since February 27, according to the school, and the school has not reported any additional cases.

Pikesville is the center of the Baltimore area’s Orthodox population, with multiple synagogues in the suburb. The hotel markets itself in a separate website from its main page as a destination for Jewish events that require kosher catering.

The Yeshiva team plays its first round playoff game at 1:45 p.m. EST today, against Worcester Polytechnic Institute. On Friday morning, the NCAA announced that there would be no spectators allowed at upcoming tournament games. You can stream the game live online here.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at feldman@forward.com or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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