The following statement has been issued concerning this weekend’s Winterfest event in Knoxville, Tennessee:
March 12, 2020–CLEVELAND, TN: The Youth and Discipleship Department and the Church of God leadership has been informed this morning that the University of Tennessee/Knoxville has cancelled the use of the venue where Smoky Mountain Winterfest was scheduled to be held this weekend (March 13-15). Because of this action, Dr. Timothy M. Hill, General Overseer of the Church of God, issued the following statement:
“Although we have been monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak across the country, and have had multiple conversations concerning whether or not the Smoky Mountain Winterfest should proceed, our decision to proceed with Winterfest earlier was based upon information that we received from health officials, governmental officials, and the management at Thompson-Boling Arena. However, a different decision was made for us this morning when the University of Tennessee/Knoxville decided to cancel all activities on campus this weekend. In addition, UTK has cancelled all activities on campus for the next several weeks in hopes of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
While we know this decision by UT officials was difficult and came after a lot of discussion and thought, we are supportive of their efforts to protect their campus, as well as our young people and leaders. We all are disappointed that Smoky Mountain Winterfest will not be held this weekend. However, this cancellation was beyond our control.
As I have stated earlier, all future scheduled events will be considered on a case-by-case basis as we approach the date for each event. Again, I request that our church family be in prayer for a quick solution to this pandemic.“
The University of Tennessee/Knoxville statement that was issued earlier today is as follows:
Although there is not a confirmed case of the coronavirus disease on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Winterfest. We made this decision in order to protect our campus community and individuals most vulnerable to COVID-19. Our leadership team did everything we could to move forward and worked with organizers through the night to save the event. Due to recommendations coming out of Washington D.C., the Centers for Disease Control, and several other large events across the country being called off, we felt it was in the best interest of everyone to cancel. We know this annual event is enjoyed by thousands each year. We look forward to hosting once again in 2021.
While there are no clear answers currently, all questions regarding refunds and other similar matters will be handled by the Youth and Discipleship Department.
For the latest information from the Church of God concerning the coronavirus/covid-19 and how it is affecting the Church of God, please visit churchofgod.org and click on the Covid-19 graphic.