Several large events cancelled over coronavirus fears
VANCOUVER -- As COVID-19 continues to spread and fears over the virus grow, several large events have been postponed or cancelled.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has cancelled its annual Sakura Days Japan Festival which was supposed to take place in mid-April.
The Western Rails Model Train Show, scheduled for this weekend in Burnaby, has been postponed indefinitely.
"Most of our attendees are elderly in age – 50, 60, and over," said Craig McDowall of West Coast Railway Heritage. "We decided caution is better than error."
McDowall said if the event can’t be rescheduled this year, it will return in 2021.
South of the border, the San Jose Sharks may have to play three home games in an empty arena after Santa Clara County issued a ban on gatherings with more than 1,000 people.
The team said it is considering its options, which could include moving the games to another location, postponing them, or playing with no fans in attendance.
For now, the Vancouver Canucks have no plans to keep fans out of Rogers Arena.
"We are closely monitoring the situation and have increased our ongoing communication with Provincial Health Services and the NHL to ensure we have the very best and latest information," said Trent Carroll, COO of Canucks Sports and Entertainment.
BSides Vancouver 2020, a cybersecurity conference, announced Tuesday that it was cancelling this year’s event which would have happened later this month.
"It was a tough decision to make, however, given the fluid nature of this outbreak and unknowns in the next two weeks, the decision to postpone was to ensure safety to our community and ensure we deliver an awesome event in the future," said organizer Alex Dow in an email.
Ken Westin, who was scheduled to travel from Portland to speak at the conference said he understood the decision.
"Because of the coronavirus, people are concerned, and rightly so," he said.
But Westin did take issue with the way a local hotel handled his reservation after the conference was cancelled.
He claims to have pre-paid US$1,100 for several nights at the JW Marriott at Parq Casino by booking through a third-party website.
When he contacted the hotel to cancel his reservation and explained it was related to coronavirus fears, he says he was told it was non-refundable.
"I was kind of dumbfounded by that. How can you do that given this particular situation?" Westin said. "And they were very strict about it. No empathy at all."
The hotel did not respond to a CTV News interview request, but Westin said he did get a call after that and the hotel explained it would refund his money.