Executive Director of Festival International Scott Feehan has released a statement regarding the upcoming event amid concerns of an outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
The statement reads in full:
To all Festival Supporters, patrons, and the entire Lafayette community,
I wanted to take a moment to share our thoughts and position about the current Coronavirus, COVID-19, situation, as it pertains to Festival International de Louisiane.
With Festival being 47 days away, we are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Louisiana Department of Health's websites for daily updates and are heeding their advice on proactive measures to take.
There is not currently any imminent threat associated with the planning of Festival International de Louisiane. Because of this, we are continuing to plan for our annual festival to take place just as it does every year. We are hopeful and cautiously optimistic that the situation will actually improve between now and the end of April, but we are not assuming that it will or taking anything for granted.
In cooperation with public health officials, we will continue to monitor the situation and prepare for a safe and wonderful event at the end of April. We appreciate the concern from those who have reached out and intend to keep fans and the public updated if there are any changes with the ongoing production."
Several viewers have reached out to KATC, concerned about the upcoming Festival and the influx of international visitors it brings to the area.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory said in an interview with KPEL Thursday morning that he encourages everyone to plan to attend Festival International, saying, "It's a great opportunity for our city and our parish."
Dr. Tina Stefanski with the Department of Health echoed that statement in a press conference Friday afternoon.
"People should not change what they are doing now and should not change how they respond to this illness from any other illness," Stefanski said.
Stefanski reiterated that COVID-19 has not made it to Louisiana or Acadiana, but residents should still take precautions.