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San Diego event organizers temper coronavirus fears

Posted at 12:23 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 17:42:12-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Several San Diego events this week will resume as planned in the face of the county's increased precautions surrounding the coronavirus.

County leaders cautioned the public Thursday to practice common-sense actions to protect themselves from not only coronavirus but the current flu season as well, as several large-scale events are set to headline the weekend.

This week, other major events in the U.S. were outright canceled over coronavirus concerns, including South by Southwest spring festival in Austin and Miami's Calle Ocho and Ultra music festivals.

Locally at Pechanga Arena, concerts featuring country music star Blake Shelton and rockers Tame Impala will bookend San Diego Sockers and Seals games, drawing thousands to the arena over the weekend.

RELATED: San Diego County officials urge coronavirus preparedness

In a statement to 10News, Pechanga Arena said they are aware of the latest COVID-19 developments and will continue to follow CDC protocol.

"Pechanga Arena San Diego and parent company ASM Global are closely monitoring the latest developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) globally and any potential impact it may have on our day-to-day operations. The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority," a Pechanga Arena spokesperson said. "Through public health organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) we are staying abreast of the latest updates and developments as they occur. Any actions we take will be consistent with guidelines from these agencies and local health department officials."

The CDC's interim Coronavirus guidelines for mass gathering organizers include:

  • Create emergency plans now
  • Promote preventative actions for staff and guests
  • Make extra hand-sanitizers and tissues available
  • Develop a flexible refund schedule

Saturday's 12th Annual San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering (SD Science Expo) at Petco Park will have two hand-washing and two hand-sanitizing stations at each entrance. They will also install multiple hand sanitizer stations throughout the park. In addition, they will have exhibitors handing our coronavirus fact sheets.

The 2020 Mariachi Festival at the Chula Vista Bayfront expects more than 12,000 visitors on Sunday. They too are adding hand sanitizing stations and urging their vendors to practice good hygiene.

"We told all our vendors to be more cautious about being more clean when handling the food," Alejandra Arrendondo, Marketing Coordinator of the National City Chamber of Commerce, said.

The CRSSD Festival is set to host a sold-out crowd at Waterfront Park for two days of electronic music performances. Attendees can expect more hand sanitizing stations throughout the festival and cashless payment options to avoid physically exchanging money.

"CRSSD will be adding additional hand sanitizing stations at the entrance and throughout the venue. CRSSD is also offering a cashless payment system for patrons," a spokesperson told 10News.

RELATED: Miami cancels two music festivals scheduled for later this month amid fears of the coronavirus

In a reverse from this weekend's events, the 2020 CIE Summit business technology conference has been rescheduled from March 18-20 to Aug. 12-14 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, organizers say.

Meanwhile, California's tourism wing, "Visit California," is advising all travelers that the state is safe for visiting and any recreation, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom's emergency declaration this week.

"The emergency declaration in California indicates our Governor’s proactive and quick response and commitment to preparedness. Fortunately, there are no further travel implications, and visitors should feel safe and welcome to travel the state freely, maintaining the same standard precautions they would at home," a Visit California statement read.

Whether San Diegans are attending a large or small gathering, the county suggests residents find ways to minimize physical contact. Leaders have discouraged high fives and hand shaking and suggested elbow or fist bumps. Leaders added that good hand hygiene and cough or sneezing etiquette is key to minimizing the spread of any germs.

San Diego hosted coronavirus evacuees at MCAS Miramar, with two confirmed cases being hospitalized and since recovering, but has not had any confirmed cases of coronavirus locally.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding coronavirus can call San Diego County's coronavirus hotline at 2-1-1, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.