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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 despite a string of high-profile dropouts and widespread…

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 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.
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 last year’s event on the city was estimated to be $355.9 million, according to a report paid for by SXSW.
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