Lunar New Year events canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Local News
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ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) -- While number of coronavirus cases continues to grow in China, several Lunar New Year celebrations in the Greater Sacramento area are being either canceled or postponed due to concerns about the spread of the virus.

So far, Sacramento County health officials say there have been no cases in the area.

“We might not have any problems, however, we’d rather be careful,” Chinese New Year Culture Association founder Vicki Beaton said.

She says the Lunar New Year event at Hiram Johnson High School, originally scheduled for Feb. 8, has been postponed, possibly until May, because some past attendees and performers often travel to China.

“Some of our members have been traveling in China and have been back for a while. And we still want to try to be cautious and don’t want to do anything to trigger this problem here,” Beaton said.

Because of that decision, the city of Elk Grove also decided to cancel its Lunar New Year celebration which was scheduled for Friday.

“We held this event last year at the Sacramento Area Sports Foundation and we attracted 700 guests," city spokeswoman Kristyn Laurence said. “So we know it had the potential for attracting a large audience. And in light of some of the concerns that are expressed about public health, we thought it best to err on the side of caution.”

Although there have been two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Southern California, not everyone agrees Lunar New Year events should be canceled.

“I think that’s an overreach of government and I think people should take it upon themselves to have proper hygiene. Wash your hands,” neighbor Joe Reach said. “If you have ill relatives, maybe it’s best they stay home.”

It’s unclear how many international travelers may have attended the Elk Grove event, but the city says this decision was not based on race.

“We had a very strong Asian following that came to the event last year. That’s not to single out a population, it’s just that there are some concerns that are being expressed about the virus,” Laurence said. “I mean, it’s a public health decision that we would make regardless of the nature of the event.”

The Sacramento Chinese of Indochina Friendship Association says its celebration is still happening Feb. 7 at the Happy Garden restaurant.

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