Iditarod mushers will still be finishing on Front Street in Nome next week, but the city of Nome will not be hosting any festivities.
After meetings with state medical officials, the Iditarod Trail Committee announced Thursday that they are postponing the Iditarod Finishers’ Banquet and Musher Meet and Greet.
The Nome Common Council voted to follow suit and postpone all Nome Iditarod events, including the famous annual Lonnie O’Connor Iditarod Basketball Classic, an event that attracts visitors from the across the state and hosts crowds of between 500-800 people in the Nome Recreational Center.
After listening to recommendations from public health officials and hearing testimony from the community, the Nome Common Council reasoned that the precautions were necessary to restrict any potential spread of the coronavirus — not only just within the city, but also especially for rural communities outside of Nome, where Elders may have more limited access to medical care.
Before the Iditarod started, race officials said they planned to step up sanitation this year and distribute information about best practices to avoid getting sick, including washing hands.
The Iditarod confirmed Thursday that there are no plans to call off the race.
Alaska Public Media’s Tegan Hanlon contributed to this report.