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

A stock image of the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Tour in Lethbridge. The event is scheduled to go on in Regina Saturday amid coronavirus concerns. Chris Chacon/Global News

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League was continuing with its season. That has since changed and the story has been updated to reflect that. 

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.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan confirms first presumptive case of novel coronavirus

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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.

READ MORE: Confirmed coronavirus cases in Alberta rise to 23, officials urge cancellation of large gatherings

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

Country music recording artist Brad Paisley did not cancel his Feb. 12 show at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.
Country music recording artist Brad Paisley did not cancel his Feb. 12 show at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. Steve Lundy /Daily Herald via AP, File

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

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

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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.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What exactly is social distancing? Here’s what experts say

On Friday, the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Tour which was scheduled for Saturday was postponed, confirmed the company.

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.

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The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has also suspended its season.

READ MORE: SJHL season suspended over coronavirus concerns

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus around the world: March 12, 2020' Coronavirus around the world: March 12, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: March 12, 2020

Classes are on as normal at the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, according to updates on the schools’ websites.

Countries that have been hit hard by the virus have implemented quarantines and lockdowns.

Events are being cancelled across Canada, from the Women’s World Curling Championship in British Columbia to the Juno Awards in Saskatoon.

READ MORE: Juno Awards 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

Regina Airport president and CEO James Bogusz said the airport is already feeling the effects.

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“The impacts are certainly being felt here in the Queen City. We are seeing softer bookings with our airline partners at Air Canada and WestJet. We’ve also been notified that we can anticipate to have some reduced frequencies to both Canadian cities and potentially abroad in the future,” Bogusz said.

“With all those cancellations of events and other major situations going on across the world, we can expect to see reduced air service here in YQR.”

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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