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More local and national events canceled/postponed due to COVID-19 fears


FILE – St. Francis forward Jason Gallo, right, goes to the floor for the ball against Rolling Hills Prep forward Brendon Green during second half of the boys CIF Division V high school basketball championship game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE/AP) — Numerous local and national events were canceled Thursday following yesterday’s wave of cancellations after the World Health Organization called the global novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued sweeping, statewide “guidance” in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He’s asking Californians to postpone all non-essential gatherings through the end of March, including even small social gatherings in places where people can’t remain at least six feet apart.

RELATED: Fresno State suspends on-campus instruction due to COVID-19 fears

The advisory issued shortly before midnight Wednesday also says gatherings of 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled.

It suggests gatherings of people at higher risk for severe illness should be limited to no more than 10 people. The guidance vastly expands local and case-specific responses to the outbreak around California. 


Minor League Baseball, which the Fresno Grizzlies play in Triple-A Baseball, the league’s highest classification, released a statement on Thursday delaying the start of the 2020 Championship Season after consulting with Major League Baseball and medical professionals about the coronavirus outbreak.

“We will continue to monitor the developments and will announce additional information about the 2020 season at a later date. We will work with Major League Baseball and our community partners to resume play as soon as it is safe to do so. The health and safety of Minor League Baseball fans, players and executives is our top priority, and our thoughts are with those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak.”

Minor League Baseball

The California Community College Athletic Association said its men’s and women’s basketball state championships, which were set to begin Thursday at West Hills College Lemoore, has been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.

Officials at West Hills College have also canceled its Spring Rodeo due to coronavirus concerns.

The rodeo was set to occur at the West Hills College Coalinga campus’ between March 19 and 22.

Officials with the Women’s National Invitation Tournament announced that the 2020 Postseason WNIT has been canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.

The Fresno State women’s basketball team had earned an automatic bid to the WNIT due to being the regular-season Mountain West champion.

The cancelation of the WNIT follows NCAA’s cancelation of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

“We know it is very disappointing to our teams, and we also know everyone is rightly concerned about the health and safety of those involved,” WNIT Executive Director Renee Carlson said. “This decision is about protecting our communities and our nation.”

Merced Union High School District announced that it is suspending all school events for all students and staff through spring break.

The suspension includes field trips, sporting events, rallies, community meetings, competitions, conferences, workshops, etc.

The district said it will revisit its decision on April 1 and advised that events scheduled in late April are subject to possible cancellation.

It also said that it doesn’t anticipate school closures at this time but is prepared for such an event.

The Cat House on the Kings has decided to cancel its spring open house that was scheduled on April 18.

The organization’s quilt raffle will take place on April 20 and the quilt will be shipped to the winner.

Cat House on the Kings said it will instead do an online fundraiser to help recoup some of the much-need funds it won’t be raising at an in-person open house.

Donated items will still be used for later events. 

Anyone with questions can email Cat House on the Kings at Tammy@Cathouseonthekings.com.

Local events canceled Thursday due to COVID-19 fears:
(List will be updated as new info comes in)

The Mountain West Conference announced Thursday that it has suspended all spring sports competitions indefinitely.

The announcement affects Fresno State’s baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s track and field, and men’s and women’s golf programs.

A press release by the conference said teams currently on the road competing may complete those events and then return to campus.

Teams that have not yet departed will suspend travel immediately.

The press release went on to say that decisions with regard to the continuation of local practice activities in various sports, like spring football training, should be decided by each individual university.

Teams that qualified for an NCAA Championship event may participate at each university’s discretion.

The Mountain West’s announcement does not affect programs that play in other conferences like women’s lacrosse, which compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Saturday’s upcoming Renaissance Feast for Scholars fundraiser at Fresno City College has been postponed.

COVID-19 resource links:

Visalia Rawhide announced that the Lions Breakfast Club has decided to postpone IrishFest that was slated to take place on Saturday at the ballpark.

The press release said the team would provide update and further details on events and operations as the team has more information to share.

City of Visalia sponsored events, the Riverway Sports Park Softball Complex Grand Opening and Pillars of Fame scheduled for this Saturday have been postponed.

Visalia’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has also been canceled by its organizers.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has canceled its remaining CIF State Basketball Championship games in Sacramento due to coronavirus fears, the organization said Thursday.

The cancellations include regional finals scheduled for Thursday and the CIF State finals scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Golden 1 Center.

Sierra Pacific High School in Hanford was scheduled to play for a state championship on Saturday.

FIRST California robotics has postponed all events until further notice.

FIRST California robotics said they made the decision with leadership at FIRST Headquarters to postpone the San Diego and Central Valley Regional effective immediately due to new coronavirus guidelines released by the California Public Health Department.

FIRST California robotics said “teams that have already loaded in, we ask that you begin a safe load out this morning with 5 team members. If your team has not loaded in yet, you do not need to come as you won’t be admitted into the event.”

COVID-19 affects Save Mart Center events

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Fresno concert, scheduled for this Friday at the Save Mart Center, has been rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 14.

Tickets purchased for Friday’s concert will be honored on the new date, said Annie Melvold, Save Mart Center Marketing Manager. Your seating location will remain the same.

You can request a refund at the original point of sale — if you purchased through the Save Mart Center Box Office, the box office will grant you a refund, but if you purchased through Ticketmaster, you can call 1-800-745-3000 to request a refund.

The Save Mart Center’s JoJo Siwa concert, which was scheduled for March 24, has been postponed to June 13.

Ticket holders should hold onto their tickets, which will be honored at the rescheduled date.

The arena said ticket holders will be contacted directly regarding this postponed event in the next few days.

Brantley Gilbert’s March 27 show at the Save Mart Center has been postponed.

A new event date will be forthcoming, according to the arena. Tickets purchased will be honored on the new date.

Your seating location will remain the same.

News on any future Save Mart Center cancellations or postponements can be seen here.

National Sports

Nationally, the biggest conferences in college sports all canceled their basketball tournaments because of the new coronavirus, putting the celebrated NCAA Tournament in doubt.

The Power 5 conferences are the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference.

Within minutes of each other, they announced that the remainder of their tournaments would not be played.

All were preparing to play games in large arenas, but with few people in the buildings. Following the NCAA’s lead on Wednesday, most college conferences announced that their basketball tournaments would be conducted with limited fan access.

By Thursday, after the NBA suspended its season Wednesday night, several Division I conferences decided not to play at all.

Major League Baseball is likely to cancel the rest of its spring training game schedule due to the coronavirus. MLB probably will also announce that the start of the season will be delayed, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Minor League baseball decided on Thursday to delay the start of the 2020 season. 

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no decision had been announced. They said Commissioner Rob Manfred planned a conference call with his executive council Thursday to discuss the situation and then a call with team owners.

MLB had continued to play into Thursday when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he strongly recommended to local authorities and organizers that they limit all mass gatherings.

The major league season had been scheduled to start March 26, its earliest opening other than for international games.

The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and suspending its season amid the coronavirus outbreak.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league is “pausing” its season. The move comes a day after the NBA suspended play following a player’s positive COVID-19 test.

The NHL has not said any player has tested positive for the virus.

The NHL is halting play with 189 games left in the regular season and sparking uncertainty about how many more if any could be on before the playoffs. 

A handful of European hockey leagues have already called off the remainder of their seasons. 

Major League Soccer is shutting down for 30 days because of the coronavirus, delaying the home opener for the expansion team co-owned by former England captain David Beckham.

MLS Commissioner says the decision was based on advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada and other public health authorities.

Beckham and Jorge Mas co-own Inter Miami, which had been scheduled to play its home opener Saturday. MLS started its season on Feb. 29 and each of the 26 teams has played two league matches.

A spokeswoman for the women’s tennis tour tells The Associated Press that the WTA is not moving to suspend its tournaments for six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic the way the men’s tour did.

Amy Binder says in an email to the AP that the WTA will announce information about upcoming events “shortly.”

But Binder says that “at this point in time” the WTA is “not looking to” impose a six-week suspension the way the ATP did earlier Thursday.

The Players Championship will not have spectators for the final three days at the TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

A person involved in the discussions over the new coronavirus says the policy is expected to be in place for the next several weeks, starting with The Players and extending to next week at the Valspar Championship in the Tampa Bay area. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced.

The only time a PGA Tour event has kept fans off the course were safety issues related to weather.

The Players began Thursday with fans. The only stipulation was they not ask for autographs. Still to be determined was who would be allowed in. The source said media and key personnel would be allowed.

NASCAR will race the next two weekends without fans.

The events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race.

NASCAR is working with public health officials to determine future scheduling beyond those events.

Arts & Entertainment

In the entertainment world, Comic-Con International announced that its WonderCon convention held in Anaheim each year has been postponed.

“To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health announced a recommendation that gatherings and events of more than 250 people should either be postponed or canceled. Comic-Con (organizer of WonderCon) will abide by this recommendation. Therefore WonderCon Anaheim, scheduled for April 10-12, 2020 in Anaheim, California, will be postponed until a later date. We will begin processing refunds in the coming days,” Comic-Con International said.

Comic-Con International is working with officials in San Diego, and no decision has been made regarding the rescheduling of the larger Comic-Con convention slated for July.

In 2019, about 135,000 people attended Comic-Con in San Diego.

New York’s governor ordered all Broadway theaters to shut their doors in the face of ongoing coronavirus concerns, plunging into darkness one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and causing turmoil in the run-up to the Tony Awards.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday banned gatherings of 500 or more in the city, effectively forcing the hand of Broadway producers who had previously said that Broadway would be “open for business” unless advised not to by the government.” Shows will resume April 13.

The move comes a day after Broadway’s two largest theater chains revealed that a part-time usher and security guard who worked at two theaters in recent days tested positive for COVID-19 and was under quarantine.

The pressure on Broadway to go dark steadily increased as other entertainment hubs shuttered, including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, the NBA, NHL, CinemaCon, Coachella and Major League Soccer.

Fresno Philharmonic canceled Proxima Chamber music concert and postpones Pink Martini Concert Scheduled for Mar. 21.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

This story will be updated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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