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SXSW is canceled over coronavirus concerns

New York (CNN Business)South by Southwest, the annual tech, film and music conference in Austin, has officially been canceled because of the coronavirus.The decision, announced by city authorities on Friday, came just two days after Austin public health officials said the event could proceed as planned despite a string of high-profile dropouts and widespread calls…

New York (CNN Business)South by Southwest, the annual tech, film and music conference in Austin, has officially been canceled because of the coronavirus.

The decision, announced by city authorities on Friday, came just two days after Austin public health officials said the event could proceed as planned despite a string of high-profile dropouts and widespread calls to cancel.
“I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and, associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest this year,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler told reporters Friday afternoon.
The event had been scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 22. This is the first time in 34 years that it has been canceled, according to the organizers.
“We are devastated to share this news with you,” SXSW said in a statement. “We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”
SXSW is now exploring the possibility of rescheduling the event and is working to provide an online alternative. The organizers will reach out to prospective attendees with more information in the coming days, they said.
Several of the conference’s biggest names had already pulled out in the days leading up to the cancellation.
Twitter (TWTR) was the first big company to pull out of the event, citing its new policy restricting all business travel because of the virus. Facebook (FB), Intel (INTC), Vevo and Mashable soon followed suit.
Popular video app TikTok also backed out, saying it would explore “alternative ways” to bring its planned SXSW content to audiences. “While we think the risk is relatively low, we are erring on the side of caution,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNN Business on Tuesday.
Despite the cancellations, SXSW organizers announced new keynote speakers this week, including Hillary Clinton and Andrew Yang. The conference organizers said on Monday they would be “proceeding as planned” and that they were working with local, state and federal agencies to ensure a safe event.
SXSW draws thousands of people to Austin each year and generates millions of dollars for the city. The economic impact of l

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