Austin cancels South by Southwest festival
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 3/06/20, 06:03 pm
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of people infected with the disease in the state to five. That was enough for the city of Austin to declare a local emergency to slow the spread of the disease caused by the new coronavirus and cancel the popular South by Southwest arts and technology festival. All five of the reported cases are in the Houston area.
Why cancel SXSW? The annual festival draws a large international audience into close quarters. More than 73,000 people attended last year, with 19,000 coming from outside the United States. Several companies, including Netflix, TikTok, and Intel had already pulled out of SXSW, and more than 50,000 people signed a petition to cancel the event. The U.S. death toll from the disease climbed to 14 on Friday, with more than 200 reported cases in 18 states.
Dig deeper: Read Marvin Olasky’s report on why canceling the event was a good idea despite the economic impact on the community.
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