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Cancellations rise in Minnesota as coronavirus spreads

Mar 12, 2020 10:37AM ● By Editor
Skiers take to the trails at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis in January. Organizers with the Loppet Foundation announced Thursday that they’re canceling cross-country skiing's World Cup event, set to start Saturday and culminate in a championship race next Tuesday. 
Photo: Evan Frost | MPR News file

By Tim Nelson of Minnesota Public Radio News - March 12, 2020

The carefully manicured remnant of winter in Theodore Wirth Park, a ski course poised to host the best cross-country skiers in the world, will go unused.

Organizers with the Loppet Foundation announced Thursday that they’re canceling the World Cup event, set to start Saturday and culminate in a championship race next Tuesday. The Parallel 45 festival events associated with the race, including a local race on Sunday, have also been canceled.

The event was expected to bring as many as 20,000 fans to Minneapolis to watch the races.

“We are devastated to announce this cancelation,” organizers said in a statement. “In keeping with updated information from the Minnesota Department of Health and after consulting with medical advisors, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our community, fans, athletes, staff and volunteers involved in these events.”

It’s the latest in a series of cancellations prompted by the spread of coronavirus. Spectators have been banned from the upcoming NCAA wrestling championships at U.S. Bank Stadium, as well as from a Big Ten men’s hockey tournament game between the University of Minnesota and Penn State on Saturday.

The U announced that all home games for all sports will play to empty arenas going forward.

“Starting on Thursday, March 12, 2020, attendance will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and university staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams,” the U announced Wednesday night, hours after canceling in-person classes on its five campuses.

The Timberwolves and the rest of the NBA suspended play indefinitely, and the NHL says it is weighing its options and planning an announcement soon.

The Minnesota United MLS team is scheduled to host its home opener against the New York Bulls on Sunday. The team said it plans to play the game and host fans at Allianz Field in St. Paul, but said it would continue to evaluate the situation as the game approached.

Other local changes include the annual History Day regional competitions, which are being moved online, although the Minnesota Historical Society says its state competition in May, held at the University of Minnesota, is still scheduled.

Bemidji-based Sanford Health said it was banning nonessential visitors to its nursing home and assisted living facilities, as of 8 p.m. Thursday.


To read the original article and see other COVID-19 related reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.  https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/03/12/cancellations-increase-as-coronavirus-spreads

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