By News-Register staff • 

Wine & Food Classic: the show goes on

Organizers of the Wine & Food Classic are monitoring news about the coronavirus as they prepare to welcome thousands to McMinnville for a weekend of wine tasting and snack noshing.

The Sip! festival will go on as scheduled Friday through Sunday at the Evergreen Space Museum, chairman Jon Johnson said.

The event is going ahead even as Washington canceled its “Taste Washington” event planned for March 19-21. The Washington State Wine Commission is refunding tickets.

“Due to growing concerns across the U.S., we are unfortunately not able to execute Taste Washington at the quality level our attendees have come to expect,” a commission spokesperson said.

In McMinnville, the wine classic raises “a significant part” of St. James School’s operating budget, Johnson said, and hundreds of vendors also rely on it as a sales venue.

The number of infections in the United States climbed above 600 Monday, with at least 22 deaths, including an outbreak at a care home in the Seattle area that killed 13.

In Oregon, the state Health Authority on Sunday confirmed seven new presumptive cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, bringing the state’s total number of those who’ve tested positive for the virus to 14.

Johnson said Sip! organizers are following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state and county health officials. Multiple indoor rest rooms with hot water and soap will allow festival-goers to wash their hands frequently, and sanitizer will be available.

A free wine glass provided to early arrivals will help those people feel safe, as well, he said.

Sip!’s promotional materials say 3,000 free wine glasses are distributed over the three-day event.

While the McMinnville event will go on as planned, several food and wine festivals in other areas of the country, such as Miami, also have been canceled due to concerns about the virus.

Sip! organizers also have talked with vendors, who will try to have sanitizing wipes available. Those attending the Wine & Food Classic also are welcome to bring their own hand sanitizer and wipes, Johnson said.

He asked visitors to use common sense. If you’re sick, he said, stay home.

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