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City of Johnson City postpones events due to COVID-19 concerns; roundup of other cancellations

Jonathan Roberts • Updated Mar 14, 2020 at 8:57 PM

The following postponements or cancellations have been brought on by the response to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19:

The city of Johnson City has postponed all events at Freedom Hall through April 9. 

In addition to events at Freedom Hall, programs at the Senior Center with 25 or more people have also been canceled, as have events to be held on city property that would have drawn “attendees from outside the local area.” The USA Softball Tournament scheduled at Winged Deer Park for this weekend has also been canceled.

City Hall remains open, but the city is asking that citizens conduct business via phone or online wherever possible. More information on the city’s plans, as well as updates, can be found at https://www.johnsoncitytn.org/covid-19

“Our decisions are informed by the experts at the health department and the CDC, and we will continue to follow their guidance as this progresses,” City Manager Pete Peterson said in a statement.

“Social distancing can go a long way in slowing the spread of COVID-19, as can basic hygiene like proper hand-washing and staying home if you’re sick. We especially encourage our older population and those who are immune-compromised to limit public interaction as much as possible.”  

Johnson City Public Library events canceled

The Johnson City Public Library announced Friday that they would be canceling all events until April 6. 

In statement, the library said the move was “in response to the threat of COVID-19,” but that the library would remain open during regular hours. All one-on-one computer and reference consultations will continue. 

“As of now, the library remains open during its regular hours and has made several moves in day-to-day activities to mitigate the threat of the coronavirus,” the statement read. “The library has expanded its housekeeping and sanitization efforts, including frequently disinfecting often-touched surfaces such as door handles, keyboards, and self-check stations.”

For more information, visit www.jcpl.org or call the library at 423-434-4450. 

Johnson City Jazz Festival canceled

The Johnson City Jazz Festival has announced it will cancel its fourth annual event, a move the festival’s music director Bill Perkins called “totally gut-wrenching.” 

“We went from saying this doesn’t apply to us, it’s too small, too local, to realizing that it’s our responsibility to not spread the virus, whether we consider it dangerous or not,” Perkins said. “It is very difficult, but compared to what many people are experiencing with this virus, my problem is small so I try to keep that perspective. 

“The whole world needs to work together to fix this thing, and we need to be part of that.” 

The event was scheduled to be held March 26-28 at the Carnegie Hotel, and has been postponed until next year. Perkins said all musicians invited to play this year will be invited back next year.

“We would like to have the exact same lineup in next year’s festival,” Perkins said, adding that the festival will be held around the same date in 2021. “We had some really wonderful music coming.”

Perkins said that they will be offering refunds for those who already purchased tickets, but will also offer people the opportunity to donate their ticket cost to the festival to help cover the losses from this year. Additionally, those interested can make donations to the festival through its website, http://johnsoncityjazzfestival.com/. 

CareerQuest Tennessee: The First Tennessee Development District has canceled CareerQuest Tennessee due to concerns around COVID-19. This year’s event was scheduled for April 23-24 at the East Tennessee State University Mini-Dome. More than 4,000 had registered for the event, in addition to more than 400 volunteers. The event will return in Spring 2021. 

Appalachian Sustainable Development Open House: The ASD open house scheduled for March 19 has been canceled. The ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for May 21 has not been canceled. 

Christ Fellowship Church: Christ Fellowship Church has moved their Sunday, March 15, services online. “We have been closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19,” a statement read. “In circumstances like this, we desire to operate with faith and wisdom, and not fear. In these extenuating circumstances, we have been praying for divine wisdom on how to best care for our church family and great community.” The service will be posted to christfellowship.me at 9 a.m. 

Johnson City Symphony Orchestra: The JCSO has canceled its March 21 concert due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. In a statement, the orchestra said it “is committed to the health and safety of everyone and prioritizes the health of our audience, musicians, and staff by making appropriate changes to our schedule to create a safe environment.” The orchestra said it has rebooked its guest, Melissa White, for its April concert. Tickets for the March show can be exchanged for any 2020-21 concert or donated to the orchestra. Refunds are also available. For more information, email [email protected] or call 423-926-8742.

Washington County Schools: "Earlier today, Gov. Bill Lee placed the state of Tennessee under a Level 3 State of Emergency. In response to this declaration, Washington County Schools will be re-scheduling school events where large numbers of people would gather and/or travel. We ask that our parents and community members keep up to date with any schedule changes by logging on to our school system website (www.wcde.org) and the individual websites of our schools."

Symphony of the Mountains Beethoven concert: Symphony of the Mountains has decided to cancel its Beethoven concert scheduled for April 4. In a statement announcing the move, executive director Scott Eddlemon said: “While a single case presents no cause for extreme responses, we recognize that we have a large senior constituency in our audience and it just makes sense not to unnecessarily expose any folks in a large gathering. Thus, we are acting with an abundance of caution to postpone this concert to another time.”

Southern Appalachian Plant Society lecture: SAPS has canceled its 25th anniversary gardening lecture on “Native Plants in Context: ecology, diversity, and interconnection.” The university at which keynote speaker F. Otto Haas works banned all university-related travel, which prompted the cancellation.

Asheville Symphony: The Asheville (N.C.) Symphony has canceled all of its upcoming events. Concerts on March 17 and 21 and April 4 have been canceled. “We place the health and safety of our patrons as top priority,” says ASO Executive Director, David Whitehill. “Per the guidance and recommendations of the CDC, NCDHHS and our local government agencies, we have decided to cancel our upcoming events.” For assistance, call the box office at 828-254-7046.

Crumley House: The Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center has announced it will be closing to all visitors through Sunday, April 5. The House’s Adult Day Program will also be suspended. The policy change will be reevaluated at a later date. “We are following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control in being proactive with these adjustments,” added the House’s executive director, Guynn Edwards, in a statement. “Of course, we will make exceptions for emergency situations, and we ask that individuals understand we simply have the goal to limit traffic flow in our facility, as well as any potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.”

Tennessee Department of Correction: The Tennessee Department of Correction has suspended visitation until further notice. Volunteer services will also be suspended. TDOC said in a statement that those on community supervision will be contacted by their probation and parole officers for reporting guidelines, and onsite staff screening will also begin.

Tusculum University College Summit: The college summit for 500-600 juniors in the Greene County School System hosted by Tusculum University has been canceled.

Milligan College: As part of Milligan College's response to the coronavirus, Milligan has canceled all college-sponsored events from March 16 until April 3. Milligan's spring theater production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" will no longer be performed.

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