‘Business as usual’: Most large events continuing in Regina despite COVID-19 concerns

Despite growing concerns about coronavirus in Saskatchewan, most large-scale events scheduled in the Regina area are proceeding — it’s “business as usual” over the next few days, say venue operators.

“Until further guidance from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, we will continue with business as usual,” the Regina Exhibition Association Limited said in an email statement Wednesday afternoon.

Saskatchewan recorded its first presumptive COVID-19 case on Thursday, according to the chief medical health officer, who also spoke about avoiding large gatherings.

So far in the province, one person has a presumptive positive test result. Other tests have come back negative or the results are still pending.

While other groups have taken stances similar to the exhibition association, at least for the time being, the Regina and Region Homebuilders’ Association has pulled the plug on its annual Spring Home Show and Outdoor Adventure Show scheduled for the end of the month.

“This is a decision that was not made lightly. The health of the exhibitors and the visitors to the show continues to be our focus,” show manager Lynn Walkington said in an email, noting exhibitors will be refunded in full for booth space.

In the short-term, it would appear large-scale events will continue locally.

The box office for Moose Jaw’s Mosaic Place said around 3 p.m. Thursday that there was no indication from Brad Paisley‘s promoter that he would be cancelling his show there.

Conexus Arts Centre president Neil Donnelly said Friday’s two performances by Australian dance troupe Celtic Illusion will proceed.

“Beyond that… we are day-to-day,” Donnelly told Global News.

He said staff have increased cleaning and disinfecting at the venue and urged anyone with underlying health conditions or who may be symptomatic to take the necessary precautions.

In such cases, refunds will be accommodated, he said.

The Brandt Centre, which falls under the Regina exhibition association’s umbrella, is still planning to host the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Tour on Saturday, confirmed spokesperson Sabeen Ahmad.

Events at the venue are put on by a wide range of groups, she noted, and potential cancellations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Major league sports, from the NBA to the NHL to the NLL, have suspended their seasons. The WHL, in which the Regina Pats play, has also put games and practices on hold.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is continuing for now.

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