Cancellations rise in Minnesota as coronavirus spreads

A sign outside the Minnesota Children's Museum
A sign outside the Minnesota Children's Museum in downtown St. Paul on Saturday tells visitors the museum is closed.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

Updated: March 18, 2:30 p.m.

Museums, city halls, the NBA season and myriad events and services are being closed, postponed or canceled as the fight against the corornavirus shifts to limiting public gatherings.

On March 16, Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state will temporarily close bars, restaurants, gyms and other venues — leading to many more event cancellations.

Minnesota's chief federal judge has suspended all jury trials for six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge John Tunheim ordered the hiatus on all criminal and civil jury trials through April 27. And starting March 23, all grand jury proceedings will be put on hold.

Despite the limitations, the state's four federal courthouses in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Fergus Falls will remain open.

Tunheim says judges may continue to hold bench trials, where a judge hears a case without a jury.

Criminal proceedings — such as detention hearings, initial appearances, and the issuance of search warrants will continue.

The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts is temporarily closing to the public, following Gov. Walz announcement. “A cross-departmental team is connecting daily to stay apprised of the recommendations from the (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Public Health and will continue to respond accordingly,” Mia announced in a press release.

Starting Saturday, Minnesota Children’s Museum will be closed for two weeks through March 27.

The Walker Art Center is closing its museum, Esker Grove restaurant and the Walker Shop to visitors starting Saturday. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden remains open to the public at this time.

Minnesota Zoo is temporarily closing starting Saturday. The zoo will remain accessible to its staff during the closure.

The Minnesota Historical Society is closing its historic sites and museums starting Saturday through March 31.

The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul is closed until further notice. The museum’s parking facility remains open.

Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus is closed until further notice.

Programs and public events at Minnesota State Parks and Trails are canceled until further notice, the DNR said on Monday. Its parks and trails remain open to the public.

The Timberwolves and the rest of the NBA suspended play indefinitely.

The NHL announced it would “pause” the season starting with Thursday night’s games, with hopes to “resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent.”

The Minnesota United and all of the MLS soccer season has been suspended for 30 days.

The National Women’s Hockey League 2020 Isobel Cup Final between the Boston Pride and the Minnesota Whitecaps has been postponed. The league has not yet set a new date.

Major League Baseball is delaying the start of its season by at least two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak and suspended the rest of its spring training game schedule.

Outside of Minnesota, the Augusta National Golf Club announced Friday that they will postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. The 124th Boston Marathon has been postponed to Sept. 14.

The NCAA has canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments, along with all of its spring championships in every sport, including hockey, baseball and lacrosse.

The Big Ten Conference canceled all remaining athletic competitions for the remainder of the academic year. University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle said the university supports the decision.

“At this time, we are working on arranging transportation for our teams who are competing out of state to return to Minneapolis,” Coyle said. “We will provide all necessary resources for our student-athletes, coaches and staff during this difficult time. Our main priority is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 virus.”

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced Thursday they are canceling the remaining rounds of the men’s postseason.

“For this to happen and to make the decision to cancel our college hockey showcase event, was a major decision. But I do think it was in the best interest of our student-athletes who participate as well as the fans that potentially would have attended these events,” said men’s WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference also canceled the 2020 NCHC Tournament quarterfinals and Frozen Faceoff.

Robbinsdale public schools Friday became the first district in the state to cancel classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The district did not say when it planned to resume classes.

Stillwater Area Public Schools announced it’s extending spring break by two days — Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17.

South Washington County Schools announced it is extending spring break by one day — Monday, March 16.

Roseville Area Schools announced it’s extending spring break by two days — Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17.

The North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale school district announced it’s extending spring break by two days — Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17.

St. John's Preparatory School in Collegeville, Minn., is suspending face-to-face instruction and starting its e-learning plan from Friday through March 27 after learning a parent has tested positive for COVID-19. The school’s academic building will be closed but St. Michael Hall stays open for residential students. All extracurricular activities and sports will also be cancelled.

Three school districts in central Minnesota – St. Cloud, Sartell-St. Stephen and Sauk Rapids-Rice – announced late Thursday that they are banning visitors and volunteers from schools, canceling all school-sponsored public events and limiting large gatherings.

The Minnesota State High School League announced Friday the remainder of the girls state basketball tournament and the boys section/state basketball tournaments have been canceled.

The College of St. Benedict and St. John's University will suspend all campus classes and activities as of 5 p.m. Friday. Classes will be held online starting March 23. Students are being asked to return home as soon as they are able.

The University of Minnesota system says it’s extending spring break for its Duluth, Twin Cities and Rochester campuses until March 18, and suspend in-person classes after that.

Minnesota State campuses, Mitchell Hamline School of Law and the University of St. Thomas are moving classes online, too.

Augsburg University is canceling classes from March 23-28, as faculty and staff work on moving courses online.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design will continue to have classes Friday, March 13, but will postpone classes starting March 16 through March 29. All public events have been canceled through April 30.

Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., is shifting to online instructions starting Wednesday, March 18. They announced they’ll hold in-person classes on campus March 16 and 17 in order to transition students and staff and then cancel on-campus classes for March 18 through 20.

Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., is canceling classes from March 16 through March 20 as faculty and staff prepare for online course delivery after spring break. The school’s spring break has been rescheduled for March 23 through March 27, and classes will go online after the break until April 13. Campus will remain open during the four-week period.

Starting March 30, all classes at Macalester College will be held online for the rest of the semester. Most school buildings will be closed during the period, except for the Campus Center, the Health and Wellness Center, the upper level of the chapel and the upper level of Kagin.

On Tuesday, following guidance from the federal government and recommendations from a national industry group, many of Minnesota’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities started to limit or discourage visitors.

On Thursday, CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals and 11 senior housing facilities in central Minnesota, announced a ban on visitors to its facilities.

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

Allina Health said it will not allow sick people to visit patients and will limit the number of visits to two visitors a day. It’s also banning visitors under age 12 to its facilities. Visitors are not allowed for patients who may have or have confirmed COVID-19 unless a patient care manager allows under compassionate exception.

Mayo Clinic is limiting patients guests at all three of its sites while there is a threat of COVID-19 transmission. In Rochester, Minn., patients can only have two visitors at a time, and they'll be screened for respiratory illness. Similar restrictions are in place for some facilities in Mayo's health care system Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, Arizona and Florida.

M Health Fairview said on Monday that it is postponing nonurgent, elective surgeries starting Wednesday amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is suspending the following programs starting through March 31: senior programs, adaptive recreation programs, youth athletic games and practices, any other gatherings of 250 people or more. The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory remains open, but is suspending daily animal and garden talks, classes and programs.

St. Paul Public Library branches remain open, but the library is suspending all programs, events, classes, outreach services and meeting room reservations through March 31, including the Bookmobile and all other offsite visits to community partners.

In the city of Eden Prairie, all Parks and Recreation programs and classes are canceled until further notice. The art center, senior center and outdoor center are closed until further notice. Find more details here.

The city of New Brighton says city employees will remain working, but public access to city facilities will be temporarily suspended beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

The city of Plymouth has closed recreation facilities, canceled events and suspended recreation programming. City offices remain open, but residents are encouraged to call or email city departments and officials.

The city of Golden Valley has closed its facilities (including Brookview Golden Valley) to the public, and also suspended recreation and other programs and events through April 3.

The city of Maplewood has closed City Hall, the 1902 facility, the Wakefield Community Building and the Nature Center to public access until further notice.

In the city of Blaine, all city-sponsored parks and recreation activities are suspended through April 15. City service counters remain open, but public reservations of city hall facilities are canceled through April 15.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has closed operations until further notice. All classes and events as well as private group and rental reservations have been canceled.

Folk-rock band the Lumineers have postponed their Friday night concert at the Xcel Energy Center to Sept. 24, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Black and Funny Improv Festival scheduled for March 26 to March 29 at HUGE Theater has been canceled.

The Equinox Gayla, a fundraiser for the 20 percent Theatre Company set for March 21, has been canceled.

Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis is canceling all performances and education programs through April 5. That includes the current productions of "Spamtown, USA" and "The Rainbow Fish."

The Loft’s Wordplay 2020 conference will transition most activities to virtual or online spaces starting March 16 until at least May 31.

The Guthrie will cancel all performances through April 5, including the remaining performances of “Twelfth Night,” “The Bacchae” and upcoming performances of “CENTERPLAY.” Performances of “Emma,” which opens April 11, are expected to go on as scheduled. The Guthrie building will remain open during regular hours.

The Northwest Sportshow, scheduled to take place April 2-5 in Minneapolis, has been canceled.

Starting Friday, the Minnesota Opera is canceling two weeks of concert performances, including the upcoming performances of “Edward Tulane” and “Don Giovanni.” Ticket holders will be notified of the cancellations and options around their tickets.

The Minnesota Orchestra has canceled concerts and events through March 23.

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has canceled all performances from March 13 until March 29.

The History Theatre in St. Paul has postponed its upcoming shows "Not For Sale" and Not in Our Neighborhood" until another season. It is postponing its March 30 season annoucement and canceling its April 4 annual benefit.

Mixed Blood Theatre will end its run of “Interstate” on March 22, one week earlier than initially planned in response to concerns over COVID-19. The Zealous Hellions event featuring Taylor Mac on Tuesday has also been canceled.

Jungle Theater will indefinitely postpone all “Redwood” performances, “with the intention of getting the play back up on stage as soon as conditions improve.”

Performances of “Celebrating Loyce” and “The Enchantment” by the Minnesota Dance Theatre have been postponed, but classes from the MDT will continue as scheduled with precautions.

SteppingStone Theatre for Youth in St. Paul has canceled all Creative Learning programs, rehearsals and performances through March 29.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival planned for March 21 in Brainerd has been canceled, with plans to reschedule next fall or winter.

The Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing has canceled all performances from March 20 through April 4.

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul has canceled events through April 19.

Disney on Ice shows scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Target Center in Minneapolis have been canceled.

Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minn., is canceling the remainder of its season of concerts and other performances, through early May.

Hennepin Theatre Trust is closing its Orpheum, State and Pantages Theatres. You can find a full list of shows and events that have been canceled or postponed on their website.

A person walks across empty ground.
Grandstands recently built at Theodore Wirth Park will soon be dismantled after the announcement that the upcoming World Cup cross-country ski race had been canceled due to novel coronavirus.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

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.”

The city of St. Paul announced on Thursday that it's canceling upcoming St. Patrick's Day events due to concerns over COVID-19. This includes canceling the 54th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and LuckyPalooza on West Seventh Street.

Organizers say they are heartbroken over the cancellation but are following guidelines from city health officials who are strongly recommending all gatherings greater than 250 people be canceled or postponed.

Organizers of Duluth’s Grand St. Patrick’s Day celebration announced it has been canceled, according to WDIO.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Friday that it is suspending all public meetings and project open houses statewide for at least the next 30 days.

"Public engagement on transportation and construction projects remains a top priority for the agency," MnDOT officials said in a news release. "MnDOT is exploring alternatives, such as virtual and remote options for participation and/or relocating events, and will provide additional updates as they become available."

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.

Correction (March 12, 2020): An earlier version of this article misstated where Sanford Health is based. The article has been updated.

The Associated Press and MPR News reporters Nina Moini, Euan Kerr, and Kirsti Marohn contributed to this story.

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