The holiday season was just a little less fun.
The Downtown Ice outdoor rink in San Jose, one of the city’s most popular annual attractions, is on hold this year due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis. Although the rink doesn’t open until November, it is the executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association Scott knees said an early call had to be made.
“These are our Olympics in terms of time and effort. We have to assemble it well in advance and get the ball rolling, ”said Knies. “We thought it advisable to take a break on the rink this year.”
Knies said several factors went into the decision, including when mass gatherings would be allowed again – the rink attracts about 50,000 people each year over its two-month run – and how long it would take for people to feel comfortable in crowds and put on rented ice skates. Given the devastating economic impact that downtown businesses suffer during the emergency shelter, the amount of sponsorship money available was also a big question mark.
The Music in the Park concert series, which is expected to begin in June, has also been canceled, although the current order for Shelter-in-Place will not expire until May 3rd. “Even if we’re back by then, we believe Knies will be a PTSD from the public when it comes to meeting en masse,” Knies said, adding that the association was forced due to the cancellations was cutting back its event staff and cutting costs by 20 percent.
Knies said the Downtown Association used its website sjdowntown.com to get information about downtown restaurants that offer take-out options, as well as links to virtual offerings from art groups and museums, health clubs, and even the San Jose Sharks. The association is also working with its members to ensure they are aware of the small business support and continues to manage the Groundwerx crews who are still responding to cleanups in the city center during the shutdown. And they’re working on a recovery strategy, including ideas to activate the palm circle over the holidays instead of downtown ice.
“We believe we have to finish activations when people can leave the house. We are social beings, ”said Knies. “We’re not throwing in the towel for events, meetings and activations in the city center.”
VIRTUAL BEETHOVEN: Los Altos high sophomore Jade Lu is one of six finalists for the 35th annual Celia Mendez Young Pianists Beethoven competition organized by the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies. With all the celebrations for Beethoven’s 250th birthday, this would definitely have been a memorable year. However, Lu and the other finalists will remember this competition for a completely different reason: Due to the on-site orders, the final round, scheduled for April 4th at San Jose State University, will now take place via Zoom’s online meeting platform occur.
BIKE TO WORK THIS AUTUMN: The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has relayed the news that Bike to Work Day – originally scheduled for May 14th – has been postponed to September 24th this year. This is not a big surprise as it is likely that many people in the Bay Area who can do so will still be working from home in May (although you could still take your bike for a spin in the driveway and back, if it makes you feel better).
Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition Shiloh Ballard says people can still enjoy May as bike month even if they don’t have a commuter. “Cycling alone or with your household members is a great, socially distant way to get some fresh air. Just make sure you are within three feet of everyone you cross with,” she said in the group’s latest announcement.