Merced County Times Newspaper
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Cancellations, Postponements, Daily Life Disrupted

On a rainy day downtown, the marquee of the Merced Theatre offers information on refunds after a performance was postponed. 
On a rainy day downtown, the marquee of the Merced Theatre offers information on refunds after a performance was postponed.

Local businesses, art centers, and business chambers have issued closures, cancellations, and postponements following the latest government recommendations that promote social distancing and limit social gatherings.

The historic Merced Theater has canceled all performances scheduled for March and is planning on reschedule show dates where they can. Ticket holders can choose to receive a full refund for their tickets, have the credit of their ticket rollover to customer credit, or use their ticket at the rescheduled date of the performance.

“The health and well-being of our patrons and community is our highest priority,” a Merced Theater spokesperson said in an online update. “During this time, please follow recommendations from your local health officials and follow common-sense health practices.”

The Merced Multicultural Arts Center  has officially closed its doors to the public and will remain closed until April 6.

“While we firmly believe the arts are a communal experience vital to our mental health and are particularly crucial in these challenging times,” MAC leadership said in a statement, “Our first priority is to keep our visitors, patrons, artists, and our staff safe. We want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this challenging time together.”

Playhouse Merced has postponed the stage premiere of “Fun Home,” and is looking at other options to share the production’s story with audiences. The playhouse has since closed its doors, and will remain closed until April 3.

“As much as we want to push the narrative that ‘the show must go on,’ it absolutely can not go on if our cast, crews and staff are ill, or if we are putting our patrons at risk,” said Alyse Neubert, the artistic director of Playhouse Merced.

Meanwhile, all events at the Merced College theater, including the Sound of Music that was set to open March 20, have been cancelled for spring 2020. If health and safety risks are mitigated, performances will be rescheduled and offered to the community free of charge.

The Courthouse Museum in downtown Merced will be temporarily closed to the public beginning this week, but the office remains open during regular business hours. The Historical Society’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon will be postponed until May. The 25th Annual Tea Party in the Courtroom will be postponed. The Museum’s monthly youth clean-up program will be suspended through the end of this school year. And the March meeting of the Merced County Historical Society Board of Directors will be canceled.

Main Street coffee shop, Coffee Bandits, has canceled future open mics and poetry nights at its location. The shop is considering going to take-out orders only.

Vista Ranch on Highway 140 toward Planada has temporarily closed its doors to visitors and will continue to assist with any inquiries via email at [email protected] or by phone at 209-722-8200.

“We appreciate and value your business, but more importantly we value your health,” The Vista Ranch Team said.

Merced’s Regal Hollywood movie cinema on Main Street and the Regal UA Regency near the Merced Mall are closed until further notice.

The Atwater-Winton Lions Club has rescheduled their 20th Annual “Charity Roundup” which was set for Saturday, March 28.  This event has been rescheduled to be held on Saturday, May 23. For more information, please call (209) 676-2069, or, (209) 756-2691.

The Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock has canceled its public performance, “Treasure Island Bistro.” Full refunds will be given to all advanced tickets purchased for the performance.

“We are sad to not be able to share this wonderful production with the entire community at this time,” a representative said of the cancellation.

Future Carnegie events scheduled for March will be handled on a case by case basis. Their office is open for any questions or concerns or by phone at 209-632-5761 x104.

The Board of the Turlock Concert Association has postponed the March 19 concert of Orquesta Dharma and will reschedule the performance at a later time.

The Carlos Vieira Foundation’s second annual San Joaquin Valley Portuguese Festival has been postponed indefinitely. The event was due to take place on April 18, 2020 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds to celebrate the culture and heritage of the Portuguese people and honor their contributions to the San Joaquin Valley and the state of California. The festival was meant to be held as a fundraiser for the Carlos Vieira Foundation’s Race for Autism campaign.

For those who have pre-purchased tickets and are interested in a refund, please request a refund from your purchasing source. Otherwise, any funds will go towards helping children with autism in central California.

Business decisions

Looking at future developments in Merced, The Tioga apartment complex is still scheduled to open on April 1, as planned, and will allow tenants to move in. The Mainzer Theatre, in the final stage of restoration work, is still set to open the first week of June but will be rescheduled if need be.

“We still don’t know what will happen,” said Barbara Piagari, director of Sales and Marketing for Tioga Luxury Apartments, El Capitan Hotel and the Mainzer Theater. “We are just as unaware of what will happen as everyone else.”

The Greater Chamber of Merced is encouraging the community to continue supporting local and small businesses as they contribute directly to the local economy of Merced.

“The virus is making a significant impact on our economy at-large,” said Sara Cribari Hill, the chief executive officer of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce. “If you need to buy products, please do so locally.”

In neighboring Atwater, the Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel its monthly Chamber Coffees for the time being.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” said Don Borgwardt, president of the Chamber. “We are here to help our businesses with what we can. Whether that is lack of business or the chaos of business, we are here to stand with them and help with whatever challenges may come.”

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