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Salem organizations are canceling events altogether, looking to reschedule or haven’t decided what to do yet in the wake of a state ban on gatherings of 250 people or more.
Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday decreed that the threat of the novel coronavirus spreading across the state necessitated the ban.
Here is the latest on events in Salem:
The Elsinore Theater
March was a big month for The Elsinore. The Wednesday film series is in full swing, the rock group Kansas had a scheduled performance, and the venue was home to one of Salem’s biggest fundraisers.
Dancing with the Salem Stars, a project to benefit the Salem Main Street Association, was scheduled for this weekend. All six competitors have been hard at work polishing their routines.
The Elsinore easily holds more than 250 people, and that means every event is at risk. In a statement released Thursday, the team announced the cancellation or rescheduling of all events planned for the next 30 days.
Dancing with the Salem Stars 2020 was rescheduled to May 9. The Elsinore team will update ticketholders with information about other events, if tickets were purchased through the box office.
“If you have tickets to one of these events, please wait for our box office to contact you with more details by phone or email. If you did not purchase through the Elsinore, please contact your point of purchase,” the statement read.
Oregon Festival and Events Association
This organization hosts many large get-togethers, including Cherry Blossom Day at the Capitol, scheduled for March 21.
In a Facebook statement, the group asked for patience.
“We understand Governor Brown has required events and gatherings over 250 people be canceled or postponed for 30 days. There are currently more questions than answers. Please be patient while our member events comply with this massive order.”
The Pentacle Theater
Lisa Joyce, executive director of the Pentacle Theater, said the March 13-15 showings of “The Cake” are canceled. She said the theater will assess the rest of the run on Monday.
“Canceling performances is an extremely difficult decision to make; we know it is the responsible thing to do in order to best serve our community. We know that this decision will create hardships for our theater and committed volunteers,” a statement on Pentacle’s website reads.
Poetry Out Loud State Contest
Students were scheduled to head to Salem on Friday, March 13,to share their love of poetry and win awards. After the ban, organizers felt that cancellation was the right route.
“Our highest priority is the health and safety of our students and their families,” said Deb Vaughn, the Oregon Arts Commission’s arts education/Poetry Out Loud coordinator in a press release.
“While we are disappointed not to see their presentations, the students who put their energy into this program each have three poems learned by heart, and that is something they can always be proud of,” said Vaughn.
Rescheduling plans are on hold. That possibility is dependent on input from the National Endowment for the Arts and the governor’s office, the statement said. Salem Convention Center
Khrissie Bertsch, general manager at the Salem Convention Center, said the venue is still open for smaller events, but the team is working on canceling or postponing any event that involves more than 250 participants.
That includes a Family Building Blocks event with an anticipated 650 people on Thursday, March 19.
Bertsch said it will have a big impact on the convention center, which just came off its busiest month.
Salem’s Historic Grand
In a Facebook statement, the team said planned events will move forward as scheduled.
“We have all available precautions in place and are being extra vigilant with cleaning/sanitizing. Salem’s Historic Grand has a professional cleaning company that comes in after each performance and cleans/sanitizes all areas,” the statement read.
Operators ask anyone feeling ill to stay home, and they encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently.
Salem Leadership Foundation Homeless Connect
This event is scheduled for March 24 and 25 at the Salem First Baptist Church. More than 300 volunteers and 50 agencies come together to help the chronically homeless in our community with healthcare, housing, employment opportunities, and more.
Officials said they’re discussing their plans and how to move forward but no decision had been made by Thursday.
Salem Multicultural Institute
The World Beat Bash was scheduled for March 21, and that event has been canceled. The team has many other events in the pipeline, and those will move forward as planned.
A representative said, “The other events are held in the World Beat Gallery and tend to have less than 20 people in attendance. We have plenty of hand wipes in the office and also are wiping down touch points with bleach. We encourage people to stay home if they are not feeling well, or if they are in a high-risk group. We are following the latest developments and will make adjustments accordingly. The health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests is of the utmost importance to us!”
Salem City Club
The organization had two forums scheduled – March 20 and April 3. Per the group’s website, both have been canceled. The March 20 one featured a panel in a program called “COVID-19: Salem Prepares for a Pandemic.”
This Saturday, March 14, the Salem Library planned an open house for the temporary Broadway location. This arm of the library will serve the Salem public while the main facility undergoes construction. The library team also had plenty of recurring events scheduled at this and their other locations.
A library representative said that all upcoming library events have been canceled or postponed.
Salem Paddy Pint
Every year, close to St. Patrick’s Day, Salem athletes get together for a fun day of running. This year’s event has been postponed.
A new date hasn’t been proposed, but the team is working hard on that decision. “Although it is difficult to reschedule and postpone an event of this size, we are making diligent efforts to reschedule this event at a later date and we will keep you apprised of these changes,” the team writes on the event website.
Refunds are not available at this time.
Oregon State Fair and Expo Center
Two large events are on the calendar for the next 30 days, and at the time of this writing, those events remain active. Fairgrounds officials didn’t respond to information requests on Thursday.
This story was updated on March 13 to reflect further cancellations.
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