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UW encourages virtual cherry blossom viewing because of coronavirus concerns

University of Washington, which has canceled classes due to the area outbreak, is discouraging visitors and providing options online to enjoy its annual blooms.


Editor's note: The above video is of the UW cherry blossoms in 2019. The video below is the UW's live stream of the cherry blossoms in the Quad.

The University of Washington asked tourists to stay home this March during the annual cherry blossom bloom on its Seattle campus and instead enjoy the blossoms on a live feed broadcast by UW. 

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The trees will likely reach their peak bloom in late MarchThe blossom viewing usually attracts thousands of spectators as an unofficial university event.

That number is larger than what's allowed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation, which prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

UW has already canceled in-person classes. The Spring Quarter will be conducted fully online. 

The university last week asked visitors to stay away and look at the blooms virtually. The university also provided a Facebook album for blossom fans.

The Daily of the University of Washington reported that UW officials initially declined to issue guidelines for tourists, because viewing the blossoms isn’t an organized event. But less than a week later, after Inslee issued his first proclamation prohibiting large gatherings, UW officials requested that tourists stay away.

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Nine UW students have tested positive for coronavirus, including two in the College of Arts and Sciences, which holds many of its classes in buildings in the Quad where the cherry blossoms bloom. 

UW also offers a live view of Red Square. 

RELATED: UW cancels in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreak