Virginia Beach monitoring coronavirus concerns, cancellations ahead of tourist and festival season

Something in the Water is six weeks away – could it become the latest large festival to be canceled over coronavirus concerns?

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Something in the Water organizers like to compare the festival’s potential to SXSW. With the Austin festival now canceled – and others around the country shutting down due to coronavirus concerns – will SITW and the Virginia Beach festival lineup be affected?

The City of Virginia Beach said it’s monitoring the COVID-19 situation for all upcoming large festivals: “While a universal decision-making protocol for canceling events has not been established, the city will be carefully evaluating each event.”

Virginia Beach leaders have not canceled any event so far, but Mayor Bobby Dyer said “that may change.”

Something in the Water is now six weeks away, giving city leaders and event organizers time to evaluate the spread of the disease and its potential impact.

“Prayerfully, they will know how to deal with it and have a plan,” said Virginia Beach resident Pam Rosenmeier on Monday. “If there’s a threat, if it becomes very local, then they might have to make some changes, definitely.”

City leaders say they will evaluate size and venue, age and travel plans of participants, and degree of in-person contact before deciding to cancel any events out of precaution.

Ace Maynard said it would hurt if SITW was canceled.

“I hope they don’t shut this down, man,” Maynard said.

Rosenheier said she knows the city needs to be tracking the spread of coronavirus, but she’s not too concerned at the moment.

“If it was going to be contained in a particular building or something I probably would worry a little bit more, but out here on the boardwalk, I’m not fearful,” she said.

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