Monday, March 16, 2020

Event cancellations due to Coronavirus concerns

As mentioned yesterday, Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for fly fishing and kayak fishing events nationwide. But concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus have led health and government officials to promote "social distancing" as a means of containing the spread.

Starting this past Thursday, many state and local governments nationwide began ordering bans on large gatherings. On Friday afternoon, Louisiana followed suit when Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order closing all Louisiana public schools, banning gatherings of 250 or more, and postponing the state's April 4 presidential primary.

The immedate ban closed down the Louisiana Sportsmans Show for Saturday and Sunday. After a very low turnout on Thursday and Friday afternoon, the weekend closure was a serious economic blow for the many vendors.

The FFI Gulf Coast Council's first-ever Sweetwater Classic went on as planned at Percy Quin State Park in Mississippi. The tournament only had 44 attendees, well below the gathering limit. Disinfectant wipes were available for attendees.

However, just about every event planned for the next 8 weeks was cancelled over the weekend. Here is a list of fly fishing events cancelled or postponed across the region:

- TRWD Flyfest (TX)
- Sowbug Roundup (AR)
- Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival (TX)
- Tri-Lakes Fly Fishing Festival (MO)
- New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo (LA)
- Fly Fish Texas (TX)

The Kisatchie Fly Fishers is looking at postponing their annual Fly Fishing 101, and Bayou Coast is considering cancelling their annual Paddlepalooza.  Club meetings are also under consideration for cancellations over the next month or two.

We'll keep everyone abreast of further developments.