UPDATED: Festivals in Wait-And-See Mode as the Coronavirus Spreads

The campus entrance to the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters. File Photo

Laguna’s art festivals are waiting to hear more from state officials about the spread of the coronavirus before deciding whether to cancel or postpone opening dates for the summer season.

The health and safety of patrons, volunteers, exhibitors and staff are the top priority of the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters, spokesperson Sharbie Higuchi wrote in an email.

“While it is impossible to predict how long this situation will last, we are hopeful that the Pageant and Festival will be able to open in July as scheduled,” Higuchi wrote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that events of 50 people or more should be suspended for about two months. On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged people 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions to isolate themselves from others to prevent the virus from infecting these more vulnerable populations.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are implementing protocols recommended by health officials such as the California Department of Public Health to ensure the well-being of all concerned,” Higuchi wrote in an email.

Last week, the Sawdust Arts Festival suspended all of our classes, meetings, and events through March 31. Festival organizers closed gates to the public through the end of the month and staff and board members with essential business will be permitted to enter, Sawdust Board President Monica Prado, said in a prepared statement.

“Currently, we continue to press on with plans to open this summer for our 54th show while at the same time working closely with city officials to take every precaution necessary,” Prado said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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  1. Time to open up. At risk people should stay home. Risk of infection outdoors is much lower than enclosed indoor locations. We may never have a vaccine so an alternative could be to never leave your house ever. We can still open with reasonable precautions.


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