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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Food bank to cancel volunteer opportunities

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Food bank to cancel volunteer opportunities

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, citing conronavirus concerns, is canceling all large volunteer shifts at its main volunteer facility beginning Sunday until further notice, officials announced Thursday.

"The well-being and safety of volunteers, supporters, partner agencies, our staff and the Oklahomans we serve is our utmost concern," said Deb Bunting, interim chief executive officer. "Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Their efforts enable us to serve the one in six Oklahomans who are food insecure."

Additionally, the organization is canceling all March events, including the Chefs' Feast fundraiser on March 26 to benefit the Food For Kids program. The annual fundraiser at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is among the food bank's biggest and was expected to draw more than 800 people.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma serves 53 counties and distributes about one million pounds of food a week. Last year, more than 44,000 volunteers assisted the organization.

Capitol to remain open for now

There are no plans to close the Oklahoma state Capitol amid global health concerns caused by COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus.

Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall said Thursday state leaders are closely monitoring the situation, but do not have any plans to close the building or limit who can enter.

Congress announced plans Thursday to close the U.S. Capitol buildings to the public until April as the coronavirus continues to spread.

State leaders are taking their cues from health professionals at the Oklahoma State Department of Health and are trying to avoid causing Oklahomans to panic, McCall said.

Homeless Alliance suspending volunteer efforts

The Homeless Alliance, which operates a campus for homeless services west of downtown Oklahoma City, is suspending volunteer activities at some at some of its nine shelters for the duration of coronavirus pandemic, Executive Director Dan Straughan told The Oklahoman.

City Rescue Mission is among them.

"It's a sacrifice, because all homeless agencies rely to one degree or another on volunteer labor," he said.

Straughan said most of shelters have set aside rooms to use for isolation "so if someone’s got a dry cough and a fever they’ll put em in a room."

OKC St. Patrick's Day parade canceled

The annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Stockyards City, which was scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled.

Numerous entrants withdrew from the parade because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak and the spread of COVID-19.

"Just pulled the plug," said David Egan, director of operations at Cattlemen's Steakhouse. "Too many participants pulling out. Sorry, tough times."

This year, the OKC Energy FC O'City Parade planned to join with the O'klahoma Irish Heritage Association's parade in Stockyards City.

Red Cross seeking eligible blood donors

The Red Cross of Oklahoma is urging healthy individuals to give blood to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and prevent shortages, spokeswoman Brittney Rochell said.

Nationwide, the Red Cross is canceling more than 100 blood drives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Rochell said.

"With this coronavirus a lot of people aren't able to donate," she said.

Music, arts scene hit with delays

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center delayed this weekend's grand opening of its new $30 million home, while the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is staying open but postponed the "spring break sneak peek" of its $15 million interactive outdoor children's expansion, Liichokoshkomo’, named for the Cherokee phrase for "Let's Play."At Chesapeake Energy Arena, Cher's Thursday concert was shifted to Sept. 18; Michael Buble's and Pearl Jam's April shows were postponed, and the Harlem Globetrotters have postponed a game scheduled for Saturday. KISS' Thursday concert at Tulsa's BOK Center was rescheduled for Oct. 4.

Norman Music Festival, which annually draws tens of thousands of independent music fans from around the region to downtown Norman for three days of free concerts, has moved its 13th annual edition to Aug. 27-29.Film screenings, charity events and book signings were put off, and busy venues like 89th Street and Tower Theatre were dealing with multiple postponements and cancellations. The April Medieval Fair of Norman, Friday's monthly Live on the Plaza art walk in the Plaza District and Saturday's Free Community Art Day at Shawnee's Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art were all canceled.

Staff reports

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Related Photos
All games in the state high school basketball tournament were postponed due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]

All games in the state high school basketball tournament were postponed due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c45762ca7aef68c6dfb11ffb11ef229d.jpg" alt="Photo - All games in the state high school basketball tournament were postponed due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="All games in the state high school basketball tournament were postponed due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>All games in the state high school basketball tournament were postponed due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f47289187aee729762751e282132fbf6.jpg" alt="Photo - A sign announces the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="A sign announces the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A sign announces the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a60246650fce62557f77164d61b33487.jpg" alt="Photo - A sign announces the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="A sign announces the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A sign announces the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b1f4a7914ae3405ce35014b81e9c7e5f.jpg" alt="Photo - Jimmy Gibson, of Tulsa, Okla., reads a sign announcing the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Gibson drove to Oklahoma City to see Sequoyah (Tahlequah) play in the Class 3A state basketball tournament. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="Jimmy Gibson, of Tulsa, Okla., reads a sign announcing the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Gibson drove to Oklahoma City to see Sequoyah (Tahlequah) play in the Class 3A state basketball tournament. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Jimmy Gibson, of Tulsa, Okla., reads a sign announcing the postponement of the state high school basketball tournament due to the new coronavirus, at Jim Norick Arena, The Big House, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Gibson drove to Oklahoma City to see Sequoyah (Tahlequah) play in the Class 3A state basketball tournament. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3b2b22158762b1e8dcfe51b34555b5be.jpg" alt="Photo - Students are silhouetted after school outside of Northwest Classen High School n Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Oklahoma City Pubic Schools will be closed Friday, March 13, due to the new coronavirus before starting spring break the following week. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="Students are silhouetted after school outside of Northwest Classen High School n Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Oklahoma City Pubic Schools will be closed Friday, March 13, due to the new coronavirus before starting spring break the following week. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Students are silhouetted after school outside of Northwest Classen High School n Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Oklahoma City Pubic Schools will be closed Friday, March 13, due to the new coronavirus before starting spring break the following week. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9de2c1ab5ea9c20bad60252c7f5752e2.jpg" alt="Photo - Students are silhouetted after school outside of Northwest Classen High School n Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Oklahoma City Pubic Schools will be closed Friday, March 13, due to the new coronavirus before starting spring break the following week. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="Students are silhouetted after school outside of Northwest Classen High School n Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Oklahoma City Pubic Schools will be closed Friday, March 13, due to the new coronavirus before starting spring break the following week. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Students are silhouetted after school outside of Northwest Classen High School n Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Oklahoma City Pubic Schools will be closed Friday, March 13, due to the new coronavirus before starting spring break the following week. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e52975625532653e3cb0912ca2cdf2e9.jpg" alt="Photo - A school bus arrive at Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="A school bus arrive at Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>A school bus arrive at Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d8e55215d44f81b5fb046fadeac25cd8.jpg" alt="Photo - A student leaves Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="A student leaves Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>A student leaves Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c85823bd14cc0b58a8bebd57660e5ed7.jpg" alt="Photo - A school bus passes Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="A school bus passes Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>A school bus passes Del City High School in Del City, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the coronavirus had a workout session at the school on Tuesday evening. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c95aeac67f91518ca6a9a483ad97a1e2.jpg" alt="Photo - Signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0a0223dadfc0268c621f138c754656ea.jpg" alt="Photo - Signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b74c867a1ef18a049872417663c1f293.jpg" alt="Photo - Yukon High School's John Paul Esparza takes down parking signs as he goes through the doors where signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Yukon High School's John Paul Esparza takes down parking signs as he goes through the doors where signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Yukon High School's John Paul Esparza takes down parking signs as he goes through the doors where signs hang on the door at Yukon High School announcing the cancelation of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association state basketball playoff games at the school in Yukon, Okla. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c99127b7e3008abc9e370b258aae1c8d.jpg" alt="Photo - David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5b1f78538d938e9d9cd5c4119398ac9a.jpg" alt="Photo - OSSAA executive director David Jackson, center, speaks next to OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods, right, and OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent Mike Simpson, left, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="OSSAA executive director David Jackson, center, speaks next to OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods, right, and OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent Mike Simpson, left, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>OSSAA executive director David Jackson, center, speaks next to OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods, right, and OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent Mike Simpson, left, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5e3f754abc608b0b308807919ff63a8c.jpg" alt="Photo - Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9c6490871f1476889b1a8d013fe22f35.jpg" alt="Photo - David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, speaks during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fcc8c6f24ac938e8920ebd6ee07e1f1b.jpg" alt="Photo - From right, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks next to David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, and Mike Simpson, OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="From right, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks next to David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, and Mike Simpson, OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>From right, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks next to David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, and Mike Simpson, OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9d418adae90d880cd87db1377b3dbdec.jpg" alt="Photo - From right, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks next to David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, and Mike Simpson, OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="From right, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks next to David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, and Mike Simpson, OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>From right, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, OSSAA board president and Millwood superintendent, speaks next to David Jackson, OSSAA executive director, and Mike Simpson, OSSAA board vice president and Guthrie superintendent, during a press conference at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association office announcing the postponement of OSSAA events, including the state basketball tournament, due to the new coronavirus, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
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