DENVER (CBS4) – All public events that were scheduled to happen at all Denver-owned and operated facilities through April 12 have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Mayor Michael Hancock announced the measure on Friday, and it affects the following facilities:
– Red Rocks Amphitheatre (and visitor’s center)
– Denver Center for the Performing Arts
– Denver Coliseum
– McNichols Civic Center Building
– Colorado Convention Center
Among the big events affected, the closure means this year’s Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks will not happen.
The DCPA wrote of their closure: “We are currently working to identify options to reschedule or credit (activities) and will post all updates online.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock declared a state of emergency for the City and County of Denver in response to coronavirus on Thursday. On Friday he said all city libraries and recreation centers will also be closed starting Monday. He also said the city’s court system is involved in a “prevention and risk mitigation planning” in an effort to protect jurors and the public.
“During this evolving public health situation, the health of everyone in our community is our No. 1 priority,” Hancock said.
The DCPA said Friday that it, along with other facilities had prepared for the possibility but Mayor Hancock’s announcement was still difficult to hear.
“It is a really difficult day not only for us at the Denver Center but obviously for everyone across the nation and our world right now. So, it’s been one of the harder days I can remember,” said John Ekeberg, the Executive Director of the Broadway Division of the DCPA.
Ekeberg is in charge of booking the big Broadway shows for the Denver Performing Arts Center. He says with so many moving pieces to making the shows happen, he knows the impacts will be large but currently, it’s hard to measure.
“I’m not sure I know either. One of the things I’m most disappointed about of course is just the lack of the ability to bring people together as community. That’s what we do in theater but of course, this is a time when that’s not the right choice to make and we completely support that choice,” he said.
Ekeberg knows for certain, there will be money lost.
“There’s a huge financial impact on the entire industry. As you’re probably aware, Broadway in New York is also shut down for 30 days and many cities across the country are having the same situation as we are having here in Denver and having to cancel performances, so that’s one of the things that we’ll be working on in the weeks and months ahead is what the impact is,” he said.
He also pointed out the number of people behind the scenes that will be out of job.
“It has a large impact on employment and staff as well. There are hundreds of people who work on theater every night and without the stage going up, that’s going to be an effect as well.”
Among the shows impacted are SpongeBob, Mean Girls and Improvised Shakespeare.
BJ Dyer was supposed to head to the Symphony Friday night, while not operated by DCPA, it too closed. While he couldn’t catch his show, he was determined to keep his dinner reservation at Prelude & Post.
“They called all of their reservations today to confirm and they said that most were cancelling but I said well if you’re still open we’ll come down and spend money so yeah, we’re about to do that,” said Dyer.
While he won’t be able to spend money on any upcoming big shows in Denver, he’s determined to do what he can for small businesses still open.
“The more that you can do to spend some money where you feel safe, that’s gonna affect not just the small businesses but the entire Denver and Colorado economy.”
Earlier on Friday the Denver Museum of Nature & Science announced they will be temporarily closed to the public beginning March 13 at 5 p.m. They issued the following statement:
“To further protect the health and safety of staff, volunteers and visitors, the Museum is taking a number of proactive, precautionary measures in response to the outbreak, including the discouraging of staff travel to affected areas, implementing rigorous cleaning and disinfecting routines, and staying in close communication with state and regional health officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control.”
The Denver Art Museum announced Friday they will be closed until the end of the month. The Molly Brown House Museum is also closed temporarily.
The Denver Botanic Gardens remains open but its indoor spaces are now closed to visitors. MCA Denver, the city’s museum of contemporary art, also announced they will be closed until April 24.
Earlier on Friday Gov. Jared Polis announced during a 45 minute news conference that gatherings of more than 250 people are now temporarily prohibited in the state.