The 26th annual Maplefest in Buckhorn will go ahead this weekend and the Peterborough Petes will play on Thursday night as concerns about novel coronavirus escalate.

Farm manager Erin McLean of McLean Berry Farm says the family is taking things on a “day-by-day” basis as it prepares to host its popular Maplefest beginning this weekend. The event attracts thousands annually and runs each weekend throughout the month of March. The festival features displays and demonstrations on maple syrup collecting, food samples, farm animals, horse rides, sugarbush treks and more.

“As it stands, we’re preparing to open,” McLean told Global News Peterborough on Thursday morning. “We will be changing a few things to try to make certain things are less of a risk for crowding, etc. This festival is not nearly as big as our Pumpkinfest so there are more places to spread out.”

She said the farm already has a “good supply” of hand-sanitizer and cleaners available and they’re also present during farm events.

“We always have it on hand anyway — and will be doing our best to keep everyone safe and healthy while still enjoying the spring weather,” she said. “We’ve been watching things carefully as they unfold and will continue to keep a close eye on it and adjust accordingly as necessary.”

McLean says she encourages anyone who is ill — whether it’s staff or guests — to stay home and visit the 16th Line of Smith farm another time. The farm is located 25 kilometres north of Peterborough between Lakefield and Buckhorn.

Meanwhile, the Peterborough Petes confirmed Thursday morning their OHL game Thursday night against the Sudbury Wolves is still scheduled. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

However, the Canadian Hockey League stated before noon that the league will meet with the OHL, WHL and QMJHL commissioners Thursday afternoon to evaluate their next steps

The Ontario Hockey League is limiting access to dressing rooms as well as eliminating handshakes between teammates, opponents and officials; forbidding the sharing of water bottles or towels on benches or in penalty box areas; and eliminating contact with fans, including high fives, handshakes and autographing of items.

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