Coronavirus Concerns Lead to Event Cancellations

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Three runners near the halfway mark, passing the intersection of E Capitol with Seventh Street NE during the 2018 Rock N Roll Marathon. Photo: E. O'Gorek/CCN

District Mayor Muriel Bowser pulled the permit for the Rock n Roll Marathon, scheduled for March 28, and the Scope it Out 5K, scheduled for March 29. The first four signature events of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, all taking place before March 31, have also been cancelled or postponed, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The announcements come in the wake of a press conference during which Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she had declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency in the District. At that presser, Director of the District Department of Health (DOH) Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said that an additional six cases of COVID-19, or Novel Coronavirus, had been confirmed in the District, bringing the total of confirmed cases up to ten.

Nesbitt said that while four of the six cases had been traced to the source, two cases, including a 24-year-old male, and a 69-year-old woman, had no known exposure and so would be the first two cases of person-to-person or community exposure known to DOH.

The Department of Health (DOH) issued an advisory recommending that events where more than 1,000 people will converge be postponed or cancelled, and other events involving large crowds of people also be considered for closure. At the presser, Bowser acknowledged that had the power to mandate cancellations, but stopped short of saying she would do so beyond pulling the permits above, citing the cooperation of private organizations.

Affected Cherry Blossom events include the kick-off Pink Tie Party (postponed), the Opening Ceremony (likely to be live-streamed), the Blossom Kite Festival (cancelled) and the Tidal Basin Welcome Area (cancelled). The festival is scheduled to run until April 12, and the advisory is in effect until March 31.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which operates the National Hockey Leagues (NHL) Washington Capitals and the National Basketball League (NBA) Washington Wizards said Wednesday that games will continue as planned. Concerts and events at Capital One Arena are currently expected to take place unless otherwise determined by the organizers.

“We have formed a cross-functional Coronavirus task force and are monitoring updates and following guidance from the CDC, WHO and local governmental authorities,” said Monumental in a statement, adding that the organization will perform additional cleaning in high-traffic areas on their properties. They added that they are working with government and the leagues and will assess additional measures as necessary.

ESPN reported that the NBA was meeting Wednesday and Thursday to discuss alternatives to play, including games without media or fans in attendance or relocation of games to cities yet unaffected by the Coronavirus.

UPDATE: after Utah Jazz player Rudy Golbert tested positive for COVID-19 seconds before a game versus the Oklahoma Thunder on Wednesday, March 11, the NBA decided to suspend the season indefinitely.

DC United currently has two games scheduled at Audi Field (100 Potomac Ave. SW) for March 14th and 22nd. Representatives for DC United said that the team was working with Major League Soccer (MLS) and the DC Government on a plan of action and would issue information as it becomes available.

IMP Productions, programmers of venues such as the 9:30 club, the Anthem and the Lincoln Theatre announced that concerts scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 would go on as scheduled but that all concerts from March 12 to March 31 will be postponed, regardless of the size.

Ticket holders will hear from IMP in regard to new show dates. Alternatively, holders can then request tickets to another show or a refund. Shows are expected to resume April 1.

Other venues, such as Pearl Street Warehouse, Union Stage and Miracle Theatre will continue to operate as scheduled with minor exceptions and stepped-up safety and cleaning measures. Visitors should check specific show listings.

Get data and additional information about COVID-19 in DC by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov