Members deal with canceled travel plans for General Conference

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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather at the Conference Center during the October 2019 General Conference. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are changing their travel plans after the Church opted to broadcast the April 2020 General Conference online only.

Aubrianne Perry lives with her family in Okinawa, Japan. She was planning on attending the Saturday session with her husband and daughter, just before dropping her daughter off at the Missionary Training Center to begin her mission. But with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taking recent precautions against, both of those plans have changed.

“We’re staying put here in Okinawa,” Perry said. “(My daughter’s) MTC date has been delayed.”

Perry is one of thousands of members who had to cancel their plans to travel to Salt Lake. During a typical Conference session, Temple Square is prepped to host over 20,000 people, both in the Conference Center and the Tabernacle. Now, Church leaders will be barring the public from attending all sessions.

Iara Cornelli de Ferro, a woman from Spain, has never attended a live session of General Conference.

“It’s been my dream for 29 years,” de Ferro said. Now, she says she’ll watch it “via the internet, like always.”

The airline de Ferro booked her flight with emailed her to let her know their policy regarding her trip. “I have to contact the company so that they can change the dates,” she said. “They don’t say anything about refunds.”

Perry, on the other hand, had her flight from Okinawa to Salt Lake City rerouted amidst the chaos. “I was able to cancel for a full refund,” she said.

Connor Holt and his family were planning on traveling to General Conference from Logan, Utah. “I enjoy going in person,” he said. “We’re here in Utah, so we have the chance.” They already had their tickets for the Saturday afternoon session.

Holt is glad that the Church is taking precautions, even if that means he has to change his plans. “I think it’s good that the Church is taking these precautions,” he said. “Conference is a world-wide thing, so it could be easy to transmit (COVID-19) there.”

He says he still plans to gather with family to watch the sessions. “I don’t think sickness-wise there is anything that is stopping us from going,” he said.

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