Cherry Blossom Festival Among Casualties of S.F. Closures

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NBC Bay Area float in the Cherry Blossom Festival’s Grand Parade.

SAN FRANCISCO — Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus has led to the cancellation of some events in San Francisco, including the Cherry Blossom Festival.

“In light of the uncertainty from the impact of COVID-19, Sakura Matsuri, Inc. has decided to cancel the 53rd annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival scheduled April 11-12 and 17-19,” announced the festival co-chairs, Kiyomi Takeda and Greg Viloria, on Tuesday.

“This decision was a difficult one as we have held 52 consecutive annual festivals in San Francisco’s Japantown prior to this year, but the safety and health of our visitors, participants and community is of the utmost importance to us and our number one priority.

“We sincerely pray for a rapid containment and solution to this pandemic and hope the people who have been affected return to good health and normalcy.

“Thank you for all your support. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, comments or concerns.”

Richard Hashimoto, past chair of the festival, told The Rafu Shimpo, “Only if conditions get better, we may have a smaller event.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus include canceling or postponing large gatherings, such as concerts, sporting events, conventions or large community events, not attending any events if sick, and, for events that aren’t canceled, frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces and having hand-washing capabilities available.

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