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Pokémon Go Safari Zone event postponed due to concerns over coronavirus

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Niantic says a similar event in Philadelphia may be ‘reassessed’

pokemon go raid battle art Image: Niantic/The Pokémon Company

The Pokémon Go Safari Zone event scheduled for March 27-29 in St. Louis has been postponed due to concerns over the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Niantic said in a news release on Monday that it is looking at alternate dates in the next 12 months. Customers who want a refund for their digital pass should reach out through the in-app support system before 11:59 p.m. PT on March 25.

The St. Louis Safari Zone was to be the first of event of its kind to be held in 2020. Niantic’s regional events bring players together to socialize and catch rare Pokémon. The city itself was looking forward to an influx of travelers, and had set up a tourism site for the occasion. Polygon has reached out to Explore St. Louis for more information.

Upcoming Safari Zones in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (May 8-10) and Liverpool, England (April 17-19) are to proceed as planned for now, but the company plans to “reassess” them both in early April.

Niantic has good reason to express caution to participants. In 2018, Pokémon Go players from around the world traveled to Chicago, Illinois for the first ever Pokémon Go Fest. The disastrous event, which was plagued by gameplay and connectivity issues, resulted in a class-action lawsuit to cover attendees’ travel expenses.

Meanwhile, events scheduled for Niantic’s other titles, including Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress, will be effected in the short term.

“Given the varying degrees of impact and risk from location to location,” Niantic said, “there is no one-size-fits-all solution across our live events. We are watching risk level assessments for each country from global health experts and working closely with local government agencies to determine whether or not to move forward with each individual event.”

For Wizards Unite, the upcoming Community Day may be postponed for areas “with higher risk of COVID-19” Niantic said. In-person events are not impacted at this time. For Ingress, the only interruption so far is for an event in Songpa, South Korea where registration will remain closed. Niantic asks those making travel arrangements to “exercise caution and your best judgement” in doing so.