Coronavirus Update, July 9, 2020

NASCAR has announced that they will not be racing at Watkins Glen International this year. Instead of Watkins Glen, NASCAR will race at the Daytona Road Course.

Fingerlakes1 reports that the announcement comes after New York State released guidance last week on professional sporting events that made it impossible for crowds to attend in person. In addition, Governor Cuomo’s mandatory quarantine on select states would make it difficult to hold the event, as most NASCAR teams are based out of states that New York is currently limiting people from entering the state due to spikes of COVID in the Southern and Western US States.

Ticketholders to the Watkins Glen events will be credited the entire price of their tickets, and will receive credits of up to 20% more than what they spent. These credits will be able to be spent on tickets to any future race in 2020 or 2021 at a NASCAR owned track. More information can be found at

The Ivy League Athletic conference announced yesterday that it would be canceling all fall semester sports competitions, the Cornell Daily Sun reports.  This announcement comes after Ivy League coaches had speculated that fall sports would be pushed to the spring.

In a joint statement, the Ivy League Council of Presidents say that they made their decision based on information regarding the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.  The council adds that it did not believe that it could maintain a safe environment for intercollegiate athletic competition.

Student-athletes may eventually take part in practice and conditioning activities if they comply with institutional and state regulations.  The council will issue guidelines on a phased approach to those activities.

The Ivy League’s announcement raises a number of logistical questions.  Institutions within the league would need to figure out how to have both fall and spring sports teams practice and play in a limited number of facilities.  They would also have to determine how to adjust their schedules, given that Ivy League teams often play non-conference teams.

Ithaca Porchfest joins the list of cancellations for this year due to the pandemic. The Ithaca Times reports that the announcement was made in a Facebook post from the Porchfest Planning Committee. Porchfest began in 2007, and since then has grown from 20 bands to more than 200 performers.

This year will be the first since the event’s inception that it has not taken place.  The announcement notes that it was impossible to have the event in a safe way, given that it involves hundreds of people walking and standing in close quarters. Organizers are looking at doing an online event if there is sufficient interest from the public.

Other local festivals like the CFCU Summer concert series and the Grassroots festival have also canceled their in-person events and moved to an online streaming platform as a result of COVID-19.

The kickoff of the online CFCU concert series — featuring Luke G. & The Candyhearts — started Thursday at 6, and runs until 8pm. The series will continue every Thursday, from 6-8pm thru September 24th.  The concerts will be performed live from the State Theater and broadcast across all Downtown Ithaca social media platforms, including facebook, instagram, youtube and twitter. More information and lineup are available at

Multiple live streams of archived Grassroots festival music will be shared from 10am-3am Thursday July 16th through Sunday July 19th — the weekend the event was slated to take place. Dubbed “Your Roots at Home,” the event will stream on “Twitch” from four separate streams. More information on the virtual Grassroots festival can be found at

The Tompkins County Legislature has unanimously voted to file a resolution calling on the Federal Government to give aid to local municipalities in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Legislature chair Martha Robertson notes that the lawmakers want the next COVID bill to include, quote “direct, unrestricted aid based on population, COVID impact, and lost revenue for municipalities due to the pandemic,” unquote. According to the county press release, this action stems from conversations within the Tompkins Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

In addition to sharing updates about managing COVID-19 locally, County Administrator Jason Molino also informed the legislature that various decisions will need to be made to further reduce county expenses, in reaction to the pandemic.

Finally, at a press conference held yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that by the first week of August, the state will decide whether schools will reopen this fall. According to a press release, New York leaders are consulting with stakeholders on guidance, which will be finalized this Monday, July 13. Tentative plans from districts to reopen schools are due to the state on July 31.

This comes alongside the announcement that regions that have entered phase 4 of reopening may open malls for business as of tomorrow. This will be possible only if the facilities have an enhanced air conditioning filtration system that filters out particles of the COVID-19 virus.

Now, looking to the local COVID-19 caseload, 167 of the 169 people infected with the virus have recovered, according to the county health department. In Schuyler County, all 15 people infected with COVID-19 have recovered as of today, according to their health department.

Contributing writing by WRFI Contributor Esther Racoosin and News Intern Jon Donville.