A premier movie festival, ballet performances and college classes are among the Bay Area events and gatherings postponed, moved online or outright canceled in an ongoing effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, with public health officials recommending staying away from large gatherings.
On Saturday morning, Cinequest organizers announced in a press conference that the second week of the annual film festival will be rescheduled for late August. Events and screenings planned for this weekend will go on as scheduled.
“It is very hard for us to do this, but we are fighters and rather than close down for a week, we are going to do more for the artists that we serve,” Festival Director and CEO Halfdan Hussey said.
A decline in attendance during the first week, coupled with the postponement, was estimated to cost Cinequest about $750,000 to $1 million, a heavy sum for a nonprofit, Hussey said.
In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed ordered the cancelation of all events at the city’s War Memorial and Performing Arts Center from Saturday until March 20. That includes the San Francisco Ballet, which has canceled all performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream during that time. The organization said in a statement on its website that it plans to inform ticket holders early next week what their options are.
“A situation of this magnitude is unprecedented for our organization and we are working to be as responsive as possible in real-time,” the statement reads.
San Francisco has recommended “cancelling or postponing large gatherings, such as concerts, sporting events, conventions or large community events,” echoing similar guidelines from public health departments throughout the Bay Area warning against large crowds, particularly for people with conditions such as weakened immune systems who may be at greater risk.
Following similar advice, the San Jose Chamber Orchestra canceled a concert scheduled for March 29.
Not all large events have been canceled — the Bay Area’s professional soccer, hockey and basketball teams are all going forward this weekend. Warriors superstar Steph Curry won’t be playing today because of illness — although it’s just the flu, not coronavirus, the team announced.
Some companies are also asking their employees to work from home, including Salesforce, which on Saturday strongly encouraged all its California employees to work remotely in March. The announcement mirrored a similar directive the company gave its Washington-based employees.
“During this time, we will continue to pay our vendor hourly service providers, who are an important part of our family,” the company said in a statement on its website.
Stanford University announced on Friday that it would cancel in-person classes for the last two weeks of the winter quarter, instead moving instruction online to programs such as Canvas and making all finals take-home tests.
“We recognize that this is a significant adjustment for many instructors,” Stanford Provost Persis Drell said in a letter to the campus.
The university is also canceling the in-person Admit Weekend scheduled for April 23 through 26, where prospective students normally tour the campus. The university campus will remain open during that time, as will the Visitor Center, for self-guided tours.
“We will be working, however, to develop replacement programming,” Drell wrote, “and we’re excited by the possibilities for an innovative and compelling virtual experience for our admitted students to the Class of 2024.”
The university has encouraged any event with 150 or more attendees to cancel or postpone until April 15. So far, that has meant the closure of the Cantor Arts Center and the Anderson Collection at Stanford galleries, cancelation of all Department of Music concerts, the postponement of a wellness fair on campus and more.
The university also announced on Friday that a Stanford School of Medicine faculty member had tested positive for COVID-19. The faculty member had not worked since experiencing symptoms and had gone into self-isolation after being diagnosed, according to the university.
San Jose Unified is not canceling classes, but in recommendations published Friday it said any event where adults are within an arm’s length of each other — including performances, fundraisers and parent and staff meetings — were postponed or canceled. That policy will be reconsidered no sooner than March 18. And while sports events will go on as planned, “spectators are discouraged from attending and shall stay arm’s length from one another,” the district’s recommendations said.
San Jose State University has not canceled classes, but President Mary Papazian has moved online a state of the university speech planned for Monday, according to The Spartan Daily.
Efforts to restrict the spread of COVID-19 have reached virtually every corner of public life, including delivery apps. Postmates, a San Francisco-based food and grocery delivery company, on Friday introduced non-contact deliveries, allowing customers to request their orders be dropped off at their door, no interaction required.