As fear around COVID-19 continues to grow, organizations across the globe are preparing for the worst.
From sporting events in Europe being held in empty stadiums to NHL teams banning media from locker rooms and high schools shutting down in the Lower Mainland, the repercussions of COVID-19 have spread far and wide.
Events are even being cancelled in Penticton and throughout the Okanagan due to the virus. As of March 10, the Western News has learned of two separate events in Penticton that haven been put on hold because of COVID-19.
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.
“Things have been changing very rapidly on a global scale with COVID-19 and district staff have been monitoring the situation. Given the recent developments in Europe we felt it would be best to cancel the trip,” said Manuel.
“We were concerned, number one, with students safety and health given the spread of COVID-19 in Europe.”
Although the trip has been cancelled for this year, Manuel explained students may get the opportunity to go next year without any additional costs.
Additionally, 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.
“Under careful consideration, and at the direction of the First Nation Health Authority, the conference advisory committee has decided to postpone the conference until the fall,” conference co-ordinator Donna Felix said on social media.
“This was a difficult decision to make, however the most important thing is to keep our First Nation communities safe.”
Felix said people who booked accommodations at the Lakeside can call to cancel their booking and won’t be charged.
New dates for the conference are expected to be announced soon.
On Wednesday March 11 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.