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Sunny King race, other Anniston events postponed as COVID-19 looms

Anniston City Council to continue meeting on schedule

Noble Street Festival 2

Fans watch bicycle races during the 2019 Noble Street Festival in downtown Anniston. 

The Sunny King Criterium bike race will be postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, and many of Anniston’s city-sponsored events will also be postponed or canceled, city officials announced Sunday.

The Anniston City Council will continue to meet on its regular schedule. 

“That’s the direction the state and federal government have taken and we have decided to follow their example,” city spokesman Jackson Hodges said. 

Calhoun County has yet to see a confirmed case of the new coronavirus COVID-19, but the virus is spreading in the state. Alabama reported its first confirmed case on Friday. By Sunday evening, there were 22 cases statewide. Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency Friday, and state school officials announced a temporary closure of all the state’s schools beginning later this week to prevent spread of the virus. 

State health officials have recommended that people avoid large crowds.

Among the city’s most-anticipated yearly events, the Sunny King Criterium bicycle race and Noble Street Festival, were scheduled for the weekend of April 17. Hodges said the event has been postponed, with organizers working on a rescheduled date. 

In a Monday press release, city officials said organizers were seeking an autumn date for the rescheduled cycling event.

The Anniston City Council will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Hodges said, though he urged residents to use their best judgment in determining whether to attend in person. He said the city will livestream the meeting. The Anniston Star also regularly livestreams council meetings on its Facebook page. 

Hodges also announced changes to the schedules of several other city-sponsored events: 

— Spring sports events through the Parks and Recreation Department will be postponed until at least the third week of April, when city officials will reassess the situation and determine whether to schedule events. 

— Something To Do Sundays is postponed for at least 30 days. 

— The Senior Citizens and Therapeutic Recreation Center will cease most of its normal operations, but will continue the Therapeutic Recreation Program, congregate meals and homebound meals will continue. Hodges said the center will “continuously be disinfected.”

— Municipal court is suspended until at least April 22. 

— The Ruff and Roll 5K is canceled. Hodges said refunds are “being assessed.”

— The Anniston Police Department Easter Egg Hunt is canceled. 

— A senior citizen seminar on COVID-19, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been moved to 10 a.m. Monday. Another public seminar on COVID-19, set for later in the week, is canceled. Hodges said the city will make videos of the training on COVID-19 and make DVDs available to the public for free. 

Community centers and parks will remain open, Hodges said. Schedules for classes and events at the community centers may change, Hodges said. 

Hodges noted that more changes could be announced if the COVID-19 situation worsens. 

“If the situation were to change tomorrow and news were to break we might make some changes,” Hodges said. 

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.