Crowds gather at convention center despite virus concerns


The JUMP Dance Convention attracted hundreds of people

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — This week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee told people to consider avoiding large gatherings due to the coronavirus. As large groups make their way to the Oregon Convention Center this weekend for dance and cheer competitions, visitors to the Rose City said they are taking extra precautions.

“I work in health care and I try not to bring any bugs home to my family,” said Jennifer Walker, mother of a dance competitor.

One mom and her crew were at the convention center on Friday for the JUMP Dance Convention. The girls said they haven’t just been practicing dance this week, but also some moved to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus.

“Cover your sneeze and when you’re sick, just cover your mouth,” said Hailey Walker, an attendee.

The Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. March 6, 2020 (KOIN)

“I just got taught at school how to properly hand wash,” said Rissa Stone, another JUMP Dance Convention attendee.

Metro said it has installed extra hand sanitizer stations in the convention center. Walker said concerns wouldn’t cause her to stay away from crowds, but knows others who feel differently. Portland Travel said, “to date, we have not had any sizable changes or cancellations to business Travel Portland has booked at the Oregon Convention Center.”

Wendy Cox, from Utah, was at the convention center for a cheerleading competition. She said she has been using a lot of hand sanitizer and is changing up her routine.

“I like to whistle in cheer, so now, when I go to whistle, maybe I will re-think about putting my hands in my mouth,” said Cox. “Plane tickets had been purchased, this competition has been happening—there really was not a way to get out of it and you just choose to brave the elements and do your best.”

Both Hailey and Rissa told KOIN 6 News that, when washing your hands, you should sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Metro said they are also bringing in extra cleaning crews to help keep the convention center clean.

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