In response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Barton County, the Great Bend Tribune announced it has decided to postpone its third-annual Central Kansas Health and Wellness Expo until a tentative date of Saturday, Feb. 27.
Tribune Publisher Mary Hoisington said the decision to postpone the event, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 9, was made for the health and safety of the community.
“We were concerned with the increase in COVID cases we are currently experiencing, compounded with the holiday season, and determined it may be better for the community to postpone this years event,” Hoisington said.
The event will still run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Great Bend Events Center, 3111 10th St. on the new date. Admission will still be free to the public due to the financial support of the vendors.
Hoisington said the hope is that the postponement will allow the event to be held more safely. “We’re hoping by then that we will see a significant reduction in new positive cases.”
In addition to having vendors from several local organizations, in the past the event has hosted speakers addressing a variety of topics concerning the health and wellness of the community. Besides having booths and topics for men and women, the expo has also offered activities for kids, such as the Great Bend Recreation Commission’s Imagination Playground. Lunch as also been available at the expo.
Beyond the vendors, however, a lot of exactly what this year’s event will look like still remains fluid, depending on where the COVID-19 situation stands at that time.
Hoisington said the Tribune will remain in contact with the Barton County Health Department and the City of Great Bend to ensure proper steps are taken to ensure the event can be held safely. More decisions will be made regarding format and safety measures will be made as the new date approaches.
Hoisington stressed, though, the priority for the event remains the continued health and safety of the community, and all decisions will be made with that commitment in mind.
“We will put in place whatever safety measures we need to make the event as safe as possible,” she said.
She said vendors wishing to participate can still do so by contacting the Tribune at 620-792-1211 until Thursday, Dec. 31.