Despite declining COVID cases in Bay Area, event cancelations continue amid uncertainty

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- COVID-19 cases are trending downward across much of the Bay Area yet the uncertainty is continuing to have impacts on indoor live events.

A holiday tradition for many Bay Area families, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair was last held at the Cow Palace in 2019.

This week, organizers announced it would not be returning in 2021.

"People from all over reached out and asked us, 'please do the show, this is our holiday tradition. Is there anyway you can make it happen?'" said the fair's communications director, Shannon Damnavits.

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But given that it takes more than three months months of prep and construction - they had to make a decision now for the December production.

"When things took a turn for the worst and we realized we wouldn't be able to keep our performers as well as the public as safe as we wanted to, we made the difficult decision to cancel this year," she said. "Everyone's really disappointed."

They are now planning to organize a drive-thru event in order to showcase some of the food vendors and performers. They will also be doing a series of virtual events.

At the Oasis Bar and Club in San Francisco, several shows were canceled last week, and other promoters have been canceling or hesitant to schedule events there.

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"It's hard to project out. It's hard for a club not to be able to do that and not know the climate next week, two weeks, a month. Everything is changing so fast," said Carissa Hatchel who books performers and events at Oasis.

After being closed for most of 2020 and part of 2021, she said the recent rise in cases was giving her flashbacks.

"Sick of it is an understatement. Exhausted, frustrated, anxious, all those are very real."

But after raising more than $200,000 in a telethon for the Oasis earlier this year, she says the stakes are high to keep the place afloat.

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"I will keep doing this and all of our stall will because we care about it so much."

In San Francisco, COVID-19 began to rise after the reopening in June, but over the past week the seven-day average case number has been trending downward.

"If the trend continues, we should be beyond the peak in cases, the hospitalization peak will lag that of cases," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist with UCSF School of Medicine.

He said he expects that downward trend to continue for now due to the indoor mask mandates and the public's awareness of breakthrough infections. But he added, it's hard to predict what may happen next if vaccination levels don't increase.

"Who knows what Greek alphabet letter we'll get to by winter. With continued transmission, not just in the rest of the world, but right here in the U.S., every two weeks there is an opportunity for a variant to emerge," said Chin-Hong.

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