Nome councilman urges public not to come to the city as Iditarod postpones awards banquet, musher event

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is postponing a meet-the-mushers event and its awards banquet, and a member of the Nome Common Council is urging the public not to come to Nome for the finish of the race.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Iditarod said it was postponing the two events “in the best interest of public health” in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. One positive case has been reported in Alaska so far.

“All other elements of the race are continuing as planned; however, they will be limited to essential race personnel,” the statement said. “The Iditarod will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed and encourages everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.”

In an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon, the Nome City Council decided to close several public facilities, according to a Facebook post from the Nome Nugget.

“Council member Brown said the public is encouraged to NOT COME to Nome,” the Nugget reported.

The council canceled the Iditarod Arts and Crafts fair and the Lonnie O’Connor Basketball Tournament, according to the report. The Nome Nugget post said the council also decided to close a number of facilities, including the swimming pool, museum and library and to limit access to the Mini Convention Center, which serves as Iditarod headquarters during the race.

IN RESPONSE TO PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS OVER THE COVID 19 Virus: The Nome Common Council decided in an emergency meeting...

Posted by The Nome Nugget on Thursday, March 12, 2020

Beth Bragg

Beth Bragg wrote about sports and other topics for the ADN for more than 35 years, much of it as sports editor. She retired in October 2021. She's contributing coverage of Alaskans involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics.