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UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan
Major Sports leagues around the world are playing games withourt fans due to the Coronavirus. (Contributed)

With the recent announcement of coronavirus (COVID-19) now declared a pandemic,events are being cancelled around the country.

The World Health Organization made the announcement on Wednesday and hours later the world was flooded with announcements about sporting and music event cancellations as well as travel bans.

The NBA has suspended its season. Coachella, arguably the world’s most famous festival has been postponed and one of the world’s biggest movie stars, Tom Hanks, has contracted the virus. Not to mention Italy, Spain, Iran and China have essentially shutdown.

There are now over 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada, including 53 cases in B.C., the second-most of any province. At this time there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to protect against it. The best thing people can do is wash their hands and stay away from large groups.

International conferences and other large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events may increase the risk of spreading the virus, according to the Government of Canada. Events all over the world are being cancelled, including in the Okanagan.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Trudeau goes into self-isolation over COVID-19

Black Press will be keeping track of the status of local events in the Okanagan.

Altitunes Music Festival at Big White Ski Resort

Big White Ski Resort has postponed Altitunes until they receive further direction from B.C. health authorities. Tickets to the festival will be honoured when the event is re-scheduled.

Campus-to-Campus Half Marathon

Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia Okanagan announced that the campus-to-campus half marathon and celebration scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 4. has been cancelled.

“While we are saddened to have to delay the resurgence of the run, it’s absolutely paramount to us to put the health and safety of OC and UBCO students, employees, volunteers and community members first,” said Tyler Finley, event co-organizer and manager of marketing and communications for Okanagan College.

Chamber Music Kelowna cancels concert

Chamber Music Kelowna announced the cancellation of its concert on March 14 at the Rotary Centre of the Arts (RCA).

The organization working with the Rotary Centre of the Arts on how to provide appropriate value to its subscribers and ticket-buyers for the lost performance. Options include issuing tax receipts for the value of the tickets, carrying individual credits in the system to be used for next season and issuing refunds according to the original method of payment.

SEISMIC Spring Mountain Festival

SilverStar Mountain Resort’s second annual music and snowboarding festival was cancelled March 13.

Jane Goodall at Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

Jane Goodall has postponed her upcoming sold-out visit to Vernon. Dr. Goodall was expected to speak at the VPAC March 24, but the event has been postponed to Sept. 28.

NONA Talent Show fundraiser in Vernon

The first annual NONA Talent Show slated to run March 13 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre has been postponed in the wake of growing COVID-19 concerns.

BC Interior Sportsman Show in Kelowna cancelled due to coronavirus

The BC Interior Sportsman Show in Kelowna has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The show was set to bring passionate outdoor enthusiasts and guest speakers to Kelowna on April 3 through April 5.

BCHL suspends 2020 playoffs until further notice

The B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) season has come to a halt following the announcement by the league to suspend the 2020 playoffs until further notice, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Effective March 13, all games and hockey-related activity involving any Canadian Junior Hockey League clubs will be cancelled until further notice.

This affects each of its 10-member league’s playoffs, the four regional championship events as well as the Centennial Cup Canadian National Junior A Championship slated for Portage la Prairie, Man., this May.

There are 17 Junior A teams across the province including the Penticton Vees, West Kelowna Warriors, Vernon Vipers, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Merritt Centennials and the Trail Smokeaters.

SD 22 cancels spring break trips

Four trips were planned over spring break within the Vernon School District. A trip planned for international students to Banff, was also just cancelled today.

But the decision comes a little late for students who left Wednesday to Germany/Austria/France.

“We are working with the travel providers to determine whether the trips will be postponed or refunded,” said Maritza Reilly, SD 22 media and communications. “We are also working with the group who have already left for Europe to determine what actions will be necessary upon their return.”

SD 23 cancels five international trips

The Central Okanagan school board has decided to cancel five international field trips due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The cancelled trips include a Mount Boucherie Secondary School music trip to Disneyland in California from March 13 to March 19, a Kelowna Senior Secondary School cultural trip to Europe from March 18 to April 1 and a Kelowna Senior Secondary School music trip to New York from April 5 to April 12.

An exchange trip to France for students from Mount Boucherie Secondary, Okanagan Mission Secondary, Rutland Senior Secondary and Kelowna Senior Secondary has also been cancelled. The trip was expected to be held from March 14 to April 25.

The board also cancelled a Kelowna Senior Secondary trip to New York for April 5 to April 12.

SD 67 halts all international travel

School District No. 67 announced this morning that given recent developments, all international travel is cancelled through to the end of April. At that time, it will be reviewed. This includes cancelling a Robotics Team trip to Houston, Texas, originally scheduled for mid-April.

School Trip to Europe (Penticton students)

School District 67 made the decision to cancel a school trip to Europe planned for Spring Break.

Sixteen students from all three of the district’s high schools had planned to go on the trip that would have included stops in France, England, and Amsterdam. School District 67 assistant superintendent, Todd Manuel said the decision was made with children’s health as the top priority.

SD 23 School Trip - North Okanagan

The North Okanagan Community based EF trip to Italy-Greece for Spring Break has been postponed due to the global outbreak of coronavirus.

According to group leader, retired Pleasant Valley Secondary School teacher Paul Britton, the same trip is being rescheduling for late August and early September.

BC Aboriginal Diabetes Conference - Penticton

A large Aboriginal conference that was to be held in Penticton, the BC Aboriginal Diabetes Conference, has also been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The event was originally scheduled to take place March 16 to 19 at the Lakeside Resort. Over 350 people were expected to attend, according to event’s Facebook page.

Kelowna Fan Experience (KFX) - Kelowna

Kelowna’s annual comic con festival has been rescheduled because of growing concerns about the coronavirus.

Kelowna Fan Experience (KFX) canceled the event voluntarily after a health assessment was conducted by Interior Health on Mar. 10.

Vernon’s national ski championships - Vernon

The 2020 Canadian Ski Championships have been cancelled due to growing COVID-19 concerns.

The eight-day event slated for March 25 at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre was expected to draw more than 650 of North America’s best cross-country skiers, including Olympians and World Cup athletes, but won’t be going ahead, Nordiq Canada said.

Great Closet Cleanout - Kelowna

The Spring version of the Kelowna Great Closet Cleanout has been cancelled after the province banned large gatherings and events of more than 250 people. The event was originally scheduled for this Saturday, Mar. 14.

Event producer Rosanne Ting-Mak Brown said she was very disappointed to cancel the event, but the health, safety and well-being of the employees, vendors, and guests were more important. Brown added a new date for the Great Closet Cleanout will be announced in the future.

Cirque du Soleil AXEL - Kelowna

All performances of Cirque du Soleil AXEL in Victoria, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Kamloops and Prince George have been cancelled.

All ticket buyers for AXEL in all cities will be refunded and will be notified on how and when their refunds will be processed by their respective third-party ticketing company. Ticket buyers who bought their tickets through Ticketmaster will be issued an automatic refund on the credit card used to purchase their tickets.

Cirque du Soleil’s Touring Show Division is currently revisiting tour plans for both AXEL for the remaining of 2020.

Alice Cooper - Penticton

Alice Cooper’s upcoming tour has been added to the growing list of events cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

Cooper was scheduled to play the South Okanagan Events centre April 19. The aging glam rocker announced on social media Friday that his spring 2020 North American tour, which was slated to run from March 31 through April 22, will be postponed until the fall.

Fans are encouraged to hold onto their tickets until the tour has been rescheduled. Information regarding previously purchased tickets and VIP packages will be available soon at

READ MORE: Cheap flight deals for Okanagan residents in midst of coronavirus pandemic

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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