F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre announces postponements and cancellations due to coronavirus
Following the news on Wednesday that the city of Wilkes-Barre would postpone its 40th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for this Sunday “due to increased concern and the heightened community awareness pursuant to coronavirus,” the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre has canceled or postponed several upcoming shows “at the recommendation of Governor Tom Wolf.”
“The safety and health of our audiences is our highest priority, and we encourage everyone to follow the guidelines put forth by public health officials,” the downtown venue said in a statement today.
“These are unprecedented times, and we appreciate your support and patience as we navigate through this together.”
The first is “Dinosaur World Live,” an interactive children’s theatre show that was set to bring huge dinosaur puppets to the stage this Saturday, March 14. This event has been canceled, but “Dragons and Mythical Beasts,” created by the same producers as “Dinosaur World Live,” will take its place on Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
All “Dinosaur World Live” tickets will be honored on Friday, Jan. 15 or refunds are available at the point of purchase. The Sundance Vacations Box Office at the Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre) will be open today until 5 p.m., or customers can call 570-826-1100.
The second show affected is a Chandelier Lobby concert with local Irish folk singer/songwriter Mickey Spain that would have taken place during the parade on March 15. No new date has been announced yet.
As of now, the last show that will be postponed is “Joe Nardone Presents: Part Two, Oh What a Nite of Doo Wop & Legends” with The Duprees, Brian Hyland, The Happenings, Gary U.S. Bonds, and The Fireflies on Saturday, March 28. A new date will be announced, and refunds are available for those who cannot attend the rescheduled event.
In an earlier statement before the cancellations, the Kirby Center said that they are “monitoring the situation closely” and “take seriously the health and safety of our patrons, our artists, and our employees. … We will continue to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the city of Wilkes-Barre for any updates.”
“We can’t wait to open our doors again and bring in the quality entertainment our customers are used to,” the Kirby Center added today. “In the meantime, stay safe and take care of each other.”
While Luzerne County has not yet been affected by the coronavirus, as of today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported that there are 27 presumptive positive cases and six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania – 17 in Montgomery County, four in Delaware County, three in Philadelphia, three in Monroe County, two in Bucks County, and one reported case each in Chester, Northampton, Pike, and Wayne counties.
When the first two cases were detected in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf held a press conference on March 6 and signed an emergency disaster declaration to increase support to state agencies responding to COVID-19. He then announced that “all major health insurers providing comprehensive medical coverage in the commonwealth will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment for consumers and have committed to waive any cost-sharing for the testing.”
“First and foremost, the commonwealth is prepared for and focused on mitigating COVID-19 in our state,” Wolf said. “Pennsylvania insurers proactively waiving costs associated with COVID-19 testing for consumers helps the commonwealth identify additional cases and gives us a better opportunity to increase our resources appropriately and better protect all Pennsylvanians. No Pennsylvanian should forego testing for any reason, if deemed medically necessary, including fear of what it might cost.”
Yesterday, Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine gave an update on cases in Pennsylvania and provided statewide guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“I strongly encourage the statewide suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of 250 individuals or more and discourage people from traveling to recreational activities such as gyms, movie theaters, and shopping malls,” Wolf said regarding the next 14 days. “And while people are free to travel, I ask that everyone refrain from non-essential travel. We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The time to do this is now. We cannot wait.”
“Essential services in Montgomery County – police, fire, and emergency medical services, public transportation, essential services for vulnerable populations such as our facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and autism – will still be operational,” Wolf added. “Supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open, but we do recommend that non-essential retail facilities close.”
“This situation is quickly evolving, even for us here at the Department of Health,” Levine said. “It can be overwhelming and scary to hear that you should stay home. Aside from practicing good health habits, we want you to practice good self-care to ensure your body is getting the proper nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and getting enough sleep.”
“As this situation evolves, we will continually update Pennsylvanians through our website, health.pa.gov, our Facebook page, and our Twitter account,” Levine continued. “It’s important to remember that the most accurate and timely information regarding this outbreak is available through the Department of Health.”
To avoid contracting the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, public health officials are encouraging people to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes with their elbow, and avoid touching their face. Those who are showing symptoms like a fever, cough, and shortness of breath are encouraged to stay home and contact their doctor by phone to avoid exposing others.
Photo by Jason Riedmiller Photography/NEPA Scene