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What has been the impact of COVID-19 on Santa Cruz Events?

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 | March 13, 2020

It’s been a hard week hasn’t it? The Coronavirus (COVID-2019) got upgraded to a pandemic, the markets have had record ups and downs, the 8th confirmed person came down with the Coronavirus in Santa Cruz and then mid week all the scheduled events in town started to send out their cancellation, postponing, or rescheduling announcements.

At the start of the week the mindset of many event organizers in town was to stay the course unless a Coronavirus outbreak happens. Monday the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency released a memo. The memo stressed the importance of minimizing our exposure. One of the bullet points stated:

• Minimize the number of employees working within arm’s length of one another, including minimizing or canceling large in-person meetings and conferences of about 50 or more.

We did not see this memo till the following day, Tuesday, as seems to be the case with many other event organizers. As soon as we read it, it was clear what we needed to do. We had scheduled the 11th Annual NEXTies for March 20th. However, after reading the memo, and understanding how serious this sistuation is, we decided to reschedule (Rescheduled for June 19th).

That day we sent a message on social media and our website:

We wanted to let everyone know that we have changed the date of the NEXTies to June 19, 2020. This was not an easy thing to do but we felt it was important based on the concerns of our county public health officials regarding COVID -19. Tickets bought for the March 20th event will be honored at the June 19th event. Thank you for understanding.

That day, other event organizers made the decision to cancel including The Watsonville Film Festival and the Santa Cruz County Business Expo put on by the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce.

The Announcments

Santa Cruz County Business Expo: Earlier this morning, the Chamber’s Executive Committee met to discuss the unfolding issues regarding the COVID-19 / Novel Coronavirus. The 2020 Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo will be postponed and moved to later date in 2020. We made this decision based on the escalating concerns from our county public health officials. Our first priority is the health and well-being of our members, our staff and the greater Santa Cruz County community.

After receiving updates from Santa Cruz County Public Health officials, as we continuously monitor the COVID-19 / Novel Coronavirus, the situation continues with uncertainty. The best plan of action at this time to ensure the safety and health of our Expo participants is to postpone the March 11 event and move it to a later date (date TBD).

Watsonville Film Festival:

Both events were scheduled to start Wednesday. How did the process of cancelling these events come to be? Watch the video interviews below to hear the story.

Of course these were not the only events to cancel. By the end of the week, pretty much all events were put on hold including DNA’s Comedy Lab, Santa Cruz Works events, Santa Cruz Warriors and even music venues such as The Catalyst Club.

DNA’s Comedy Lab:

After careful consideration, the owners and directors of DNA’s Comedy Lab have decided to pause all events at this time for at least two weekends through March 22. Above all else, we love our artists, audiences, and employees—as well as our greater community. Therefore, we are following the guidelines advised for public health needs and staying true to our core values. We are in the business of spreading joy, not germs. Continue reading here.

Santa Cruz Warriors:

As we noted yesterday, with the escalating situation surrounding COVID-19, we find ourselves in a rapidly changing environment by the day, if not the hour. We have seen that precise scenario unfold over the course of yesterday and today and we completely support the NBA G League’s decision to suspend our season until further notice. The health and safety of our fans, staff and players has always been, and always will be, our top priority.

The Catalyst Club:

At The Catalyst, our lives revolve around community experience and live music. However, our priority is the health and safety of our patrons, staff, and community. We are closely monitoring the ever-evolving coronavirus COVID-19 situation and are following the guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Based on those recommendations, as of Saturday the 14’th, The Catalyst will be postponing all shows through the end of March. Events after that date are not affected and will continue as scheduled. All tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates. We will announce the new dates as soon as we have that information.

We look forward to seeing you back on the dance floor in April! 

Santa Cruz Works:

This post is to inform our members, partners, sponsors and community that all in-person Santa Cruz Works events have been suspended until further notice. We take very seriously the health and well-being of our community. At this juncture, in-person events are not a risk we should take nor our community. Continue reading here.

—–

On Thursday Governor Gavin Newsom made an announcement / state order that Mass Gatherings Should be Postponed or Canceled Statewide to Slow the Spread of COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California public health officials this evening issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” said Governor Newsom. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk – seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.” Continue reading here or watch the video below.

The question for many local event organizers is what to do next? Do we schedule our events for next month? Do we wait to see what comes of the Coronavirus? There are hard decisions that have to be made. Some organizers have decided to run virtual events and meetings. For some suggestions on how to do so, here is a post with helpful suggestions from Santa Cruz Works – click here.

Whatever the case my be, this has had a huge impact on our lives. We talked to one local musician who had six shows cancelled. For them it is not just the shows but the income that they will not be receiving. The same is true with restaurants and other public locations. They are going to be hit hard. So what can we do? Let’s support them anyway we can. Buy the musicians music, buy gift cards at restaurants, and just be there for the community.

Event Santa Cruz was created to help and support the doers in our community. If you are a entrepreneur, business owners, artist, musician or creator and need anything let us know and we will try our best to help.

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