Officials discuss future of large events set to take place across South Florida amid coronavirus concerns

MIAMI (WSVN) - City leaders have gathered to discuss the future of events that will be bringing in people from around the world to South Florida this month as the concern over preventing the spread of the coronavirus grows.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez hosted a closed door meeting with other mayors from other municipalities at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center on Thursday to come up with a unified plan in the event the virus is detected in South Florida.

“There’s a lot of resources that the municipalities have. There’s a lot of resources that we have and they’re all our residents. We want to make sure that we’re the best prepared county in the nation,” said Giménez.

“We want to do the best we can to minimize any exposure,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III.

City leaders are making decisions as to whether they will postpone events or leave them as scheduled.

“We have no plans to postpone any events in the county, though each municipality has the right to cancel events in their particular municipalities, especially if they’re the ones hosting it,” said Giménez.

At least two other mayors told 7News all events in their cities will go on as planned.

“Jazz In The Gardens is going forward,” said Gilbert III.

He also said more hand washing stations will be available for event goers.

“We’ll have people at the gate with towelettes [saying], ‘Here, you can use these,’ and we’re asking anybody who is sick to definitely stay home,” said Gilbert III.

“We do have a number of events coming up, and for the time being, the message is we’re staying the course,” said North Bay Village Mayor Brent Latham.

The City of Miami also hosted several meetings to discuss the future of events set to take place in the city throughout the month.

The meetings come one day after the Miami Herald reported Ultra Music Festival will be put on hold this year.

The decision received mixed reactions from residents.

One truck owner displayed their opinion on an LED billboard screen reading in part, “If you cancel Ultra Miami, tourists will still come [and it] will create overcrowding in Miami Beach and Wynwood.”

Calle Ocho’s future is still up in the air, although it is scheduled to take place on March 15.

“I believe that our intentions are to postpone it because I think it’s a logical thing to do,” said City of Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes.

“We’re still in discussions with them. Tomorrow we’ll hopefully have everything wrapped up so we can give a comprehensive briefing on Calle Ocho and Ultra,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

A media conference discussing the future of both events is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. Friday.

The City of Hialeah also made an announcement saying all events scheduled for March have been cancelled.

Officials said they are prepared for any emergency but also hope residents are doing their part to stay safe.

“I think more and more people are getting it,” said Giménez. “Now is maybe not the time to greet everybody the way we used to greet each other.”

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