By Patrick Phillips|March 10, 2020 at 11:47 AM EDT - Updated March 10 at 12:38 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Several Lowcountry event organizers are considering their options as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus grows nationwide.
As of Tuesday, there were two confirmed cases and five possible cases in South Carolina. Health officials have maintained the risk to the general public is low, but have been urging people to use basic steps to protect themselves like washing their hands often, coughing or sneezing into their elbows and avoiding properly disposing of tissues that may be contaminated with germs.
Here is a list of events scheduled for the next few weeks in the Lowcountry with the latest word from organizers:
- BENEFITFOCUS ONE PLACE 2020-CHANGE ANNOUNCED: BenefitFocus announced Monday its One Place 2020 Event scheduled for March 17-19 at the Gaillard Center will become a virtual event only. This step was deemed necessary to protect the health of those planning to attend the event, company spokesman George Evanko said. Details regarding registration and viewing sessions for the virtual conference will be made available in the coming days and posted online athttps://www.benefitfocus.com/one-place. Attendees for this year’s One Place will be reimbursed for their registration fees. Representatives of Benefitfocus are directly contacting those who had registered to attend with further details on next steps.
- CHARLESTON BLACK EXPO- PROCEEDING AS PLANNED: The 9th Annual Taste of Black Charleston is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Ladson Exchange Hall. The 2020 Charleston Black Expo and Economic Empowerment Summit is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Charleston Black Expo President Darrin Thomas released a statement Tuesday that read in part: “The health concerns of our community have always been a focal point of the Annual Black Expo event in the Lowcountry and the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors and partners will always be our top priority. The Black Expo staff along with Expo Health partners MUSC Health & Roper St. Francis Healthcare; and the North Charleston Coliseum Complex is closely monitoring the latest local and global developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and any impact it may have on implementing a safe and successful Expo weekend." Thomas said the organization is staying abreast of the latest updates and developments as they occur. "We will continue to be guided by the prevention and best practices recommendations of these organizations, in conjunction with our local public Black Expo Health Partners,” he said.
- COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN- PROCEEDING AS PLANNED: Organizers of the Cooper River Bridge Run, which is scheduled for April 4, released this statement on their website: “We are so excited about the upcoming Cooper River Bridge Run and have no plans to cancel any of the festivities. We are in touch with our medical team and governmental agencies and will stay on top of any issues that arise. Please check our website at Bridgerun.com and our social media for any updates.”
- DIG SOUTH TECH SUMMIT- PROCEEDING AS PLANNED: DIG SOUTH Tech Summit is scheduled for April 22-24 at the Charleston Gaillard Center in Charleston.
- FLOWERTOWN FESTIVAL- PROCEEDING AS PLANNED: The Flowertown Festival is scheduled for April 3-5 at Azaela Park in Summerville. It remains the Summerville YMCA’s premiere fundraiser founded in 1972 to support health and wellness programs at the Y. Every spring, thousands of people visit Summerville to see nature’s bounty awash in color, from the hot pink azaleas, to the purple wisteria, to the delicate white dogwood. The event features more than 200 jury-selected artists from throughout the country who display their work for sale, delicious foods from restaurants, and fun activities and rides for children.
- NORTH CHARLESTON’S ST. PATRICK’S DAY BLOCK PARTY AND PARADE- PROCEEDING AS PLANNED: The event is scheduled at Park Circle for Saturday beginning at noon and running through 6 p.m. The block party kicks off with a parade starting on Park Place East (adjacent to East Montague Avenue and across from the Park Circle Community Center) at 12:00 noon. The celebration will feature live music across three stages, street vending and fare from Olde North Charleston restaurants, arts & craft vendors, additional local food vendors, a Kid’s Zone with jump castles, facepainting and inflatable obstacle course, a bungee trampoline, fire trucks, as well as the always favorite mechanical bull.
- SPECIAL OLYMPICS SOUTH CAROLINA-CANCELED: Special Olympics South Carolina announced Tuesday it is canceling three statewide events (including State Basketball on March 14, the annual Statehouse Rally for Special Olympics on March 31, and the State Cheer Competition April 25). It is also suspending all local competitions and practices until March 31. Special Olympics Programs worldwide are very strongly advised to suspend all sport training and competition activities and other activations involving our athletes through 31 March 2020, at which time the situation will be reevaluated. The Charleston/Dorchester Spring Games that had been scheduled for March 18. The decision was made because of a mandate by Special Olympics International that affected regions cancel local event held by or involving athletes from that region.
- VOLVO CAR OPEN- PROCEEDING AS PLANNED: The Volvo Car Open posted an update to its website stating, “We are working closely with the WTA Tour, Medical University of South Carolina and the City of Charleston to establish additional protocols to promote the health and safety of all participants and fans at our tournament. We will continue to monitor all reports and make any updates as necessary.” Those precautions include:
- Adding hand sanitizers to all public spaces at the facility
- Adding additional ecology personnel for constant sanitizing of all areas throughout the tournament
- Training food and beverage personnel on-site for proper sanitization protocols
- Providing volunteers taking tickets at entrances with gloves
- Adding multiple new protocols for the safety of the players:
- All ball kids will be wearing long sleeve shirts and rubber gloves
- Players will be the only ones to handle their towels and drinks
- Hand sanitizers will be placed on court and in all player spaces
- Posting public health education information at all facilities
This list will be updated as additional announcements are made. Check back for updates.
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