Austin cancels SXSW amid coronavirus fears

Austin Mayor Steve Adler canceled South by Southwest 2020 on Friday. Photo courtesy of SXSW

March 6 (UPI) — Officials in Austin, Texas, canceled the South by Southwest film, interactive and music festival amid coronavirus fears, event organizers said Friday.

The fest was scheduled to take place March 13-22.

Earlier this week, companies such as WarnerMedia, Netflix, Apple, Twitter and Facebook began pulling out of the festival out of concern over COVID-19. Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced on Friday he ordered the cancellation.

SXSW confirmed the cancellation in a statement on Twitter.

“‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place,” they wrote. “As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.’ However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision.”

Organizers for the Ultra Music Festival also announced Friday that the city postponed the Miami festival, which was scheduled to take place March 20-26.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus has sickened 164 people and killed 11 in the United States as of 4 p.m. Thursday. Johns Hopkins, basing its numbers on the latest state and local health departments, reports 256 ill and 14 dead as of 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Johns Hopkins said there have been five confirmed cases in Texas near San Antonio and Houston.


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