The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and the Stagecoach country music festival are being postponed until October due to health concerns from coronavirus, organizers say.
“At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns,” according to a statement released by Goldenvoice, the events’ promoter. “While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously.”
The postponement was a directive of Riverside County’s public health officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser.
“This decision was not taken lightly or without consideration of many factors,” Kaiser said in a statement. “No doubt it will impact many people, but my top priority is to protect the health of the entire community.”
According to Goldenvoice, Coachella was rescheduled for Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18, while Stagecoach will be held Oct. 23-25, both at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. All ticket purchases for the April dates will be honored in October.
Ticket holders will be notified by Friday about how to secure refunds if they are unable to attend the future dates, according to the promoter.
The rescheduling of the music festivals, which annually attract thousands of attendees to the Coachella Valley, followed the cancellation of the BNP Paribas tennis Open at Indian Wells, which was scheduled to begin this week.
Three Riverside County residents were reported infected with coronavirus on Monday, bumping up the total amount of confirmed cases countywide to six, likely the result of local exposure to the pathogen and not because of overseas travel, the county’s public health officer has said.
“It is now considered a case of `community spread,”‘ according to a Riverside University Health System statement. “Community spread involves transmission of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It indicates that the virus was not contracted through relevant travel history, or contact to a known case of COVID-19, and suggests that the virus is present in the community.”
At their meeting Tuesday morning, Riverside County supervisors formally ratified a local public health emergency declaration stemming from the novel coronavirus cases in the county, directing key agencies to initiate efforts to mitigate potential impacts of the virus. The county’s public health officer unilaterally issued a countywide health emergency on Sunday.
In Riverside, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox announced Tuesday that all in-person classes on campus will be suspended until at least April 3 based on mounting concerns over potential coronavirus exposure, leaving teachers and students to interact via the internet or other remote means.
“As local, national and global public health recommendations shift to include mitigation of transmission, we are proactively taking steps that will help protect the community,” Wilcox said. “(Our) measures will allow us greater flexibility as we work to prevent … spread of COVID-19.”
Wilcox acknowledged that no student, faculty member or employee at UCR has been diagnosed with the virus, but prevailing worries within the UC community prompted precautionary action.
According to the chancellor, instructors must prepare to conduct all classes online until April 3, possibly longer. He also advised students in campus housing that if they wish to return to their permanent residences for the next three weeks and continue their studies at home, they are welcome to do so.
“The provost’s office will continue working with the Academic Senate to provide additional guidance regarding online instruction and resources, as well as considerations for laboratory and performance-based instruction,” Wilcox said.
He said most campus buildings will remain open despite the suspension of traditional classroom instruction, but amplified sanitization policies will be implemented for public health.
“Services may be limited as some employees may be allowed to work remotely,” the chancellor said.
UCR will not permit gatherings of 150 people or more, and even gatherings of 15 or less attendees are discouraged under the new protocol. If a gathering is essential and cannot feasibly be moved to an electronic platform, it may be considered for a special dispensation, according Wilcox.
Athletic events will go ahead as planned — but they will have to be “fan-less,” with no general attendance permitted.
UCR officials noted that anyone displaying any flu-like symptoms or illness that could be viral should stay home and avoid contacts anywhere in the community.
Frequent handwashing, social distancing and basic hygiene were emphasized as good precautionary practices.
The campus has a web portal dedicated to COVID-19 updates: http://www.ehs.ucr.edu/coronavirus.