Yuma, El Centro, LA County, MacDill, Laughlin and March AFB Cancel or Postpone Shows.
The 2020 MCAS Yuma Airshow in Yuma, Arizona; the Laughlin AFB Fiesta of Flight in Texas; the NAF El Centro Airshow in California and the LA County Airshow in Lancaster, California have all been cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus according to social media reports from organizers and a report on the authoritative website airshowstuff.com.
The MacDill Air Fest in Tampa, Florida and the March Field Air and Space Expo/Thunder Over the Empire show in Riverside, California have been “postponed indefinitely” according to reports from the same sources.
The cancelations come as public events of all sizes around the U.S. adapt to concerns surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. All major U.S. sports leagues have also cancelled schedules as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
While there remain few positive cases of COVID-19 cases in most of these regions, the cancellations and postponements are being made out of an abundance of caution following worldwide concern about the pandemic.
In a report by Stephen Losey for Airforcetimes.com, USAF Col. Lee Gentile, commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin AFB, where one of the shows was scheduled, was quoted from an official Twitter post as saying, “We do not have any COVID-19 cases identified. This decision to cancel is out of an abundance of caution.” Col. Gentile went on to say, “The health and safety of our members, neighbors and community is always our priority”.
In addition to the airshow cancelations, the U.S. military has announced restrictions on travel for personnel across all services. An official statement on the defense.gov website reads, “All DOD military and civilian personnel and their families traveling to, from, or through areas that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention label as a Level 3 danger will stop movement for the next 60 days. This includes all forms of official travel, including permanent change of station, temporary duty and government-funded leave.
For military personnel, this restriction also includes personal leave and other non-official travel.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have listed the following as Level 3 countries: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.
U.S. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said during a Pentagon news conference this morning that, “Our combat commanders, service secretaries and the chief management officer are authorized to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis”.
According to a March 12, 2020 report in the New York Times by Helen Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, “The United States and its military partners in South Korea and Europe have canceled planned exercises in the Arctic, the Middle East and South Korea. But troops who had already arrived for another large-scale exercise, in Eastern Europe along the border with Russia, will continue with the planned war games, albeit on a smaller scale.”