Comedian postpones Ottawa date because of coronavirus

Maz Jobrani.

Coronavirus concerns are closing places such as the Louvre in Paris and La Scala in Milan, along with shuttered schools, cancelled flights, cruises and even an autograph session with the San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert.

Now, because of the coronavirus, the comedian Maz Jobrani has postponed a March 7 performance at the Algonquin theatre.

He will now be in town on Oct. 9.  Tickets purchased for the March 7 show will be honoured for the new date, according to a media release Thursday from Just for Laughs. Talar Adam, a spokesperson for JFL says this is their first postponement related to coronavirus.

A quick canvas of Ottawa arts institutions reveals a wait and see attitude.

The National Arts Centre is monitoring the expansion of the virus, says spokesman Carl Martin.

“Our staff is monitoring the COVID-19 situation. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to state that the risk associated with COVID-19 is low for Canada. No cases have been reported in Ottawa-Gatineau at this time.

“If an outbreak is declared in Ottawa-Gatineau, any decision to cancel shows and events will be made based on verified information and directives issued by the appropriate public health authorities (such as the Public Health Agency of Canada).”

Over at the National Gallery of Canada, officials are taking preventative measures as a result of the COVID-19 situation including the addition of hand sanitizing stations as well as increased frequency of cleaning in high-traffic areas, says spokesperson Josee-Britanie Mallet.

“At this time, there is no impact on our programming; however, we are continuing to monitor the situation and will follow any recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada,” she added.

Chamberfest is taking a similar approach says spokesperson Philippa Wolf.

“Chamberfest is carefully monitoring the development of COVID-19 in co-ordination with authorities, partners and artists. We are making plans to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone involved and have no plans to cancel or postpone the festival.”

The Canadian Museum of History too is receiving regular updates from government agencies on the COVID-19 virus, said spokesperson Patricia Lynch.

“We have put various preventative measures into place to reduce the spread of germs, including more frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas and additional hand sanitizing stations. Signage regarding proper hand-washing techniques is being posted.

“We are following Government of Canada directives on this file, and as the threat in Canada remains low, there are no plans to close the Museum at this time. As part of our operational risk management process, we do plan for various scenarios and we are of course monitoring the situation closely.”

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.