SXSW canceled due to coronavirus

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South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive attendees pass through the Austin Convention Center on March 14, 2016, in Austin, Texas.

Ann Hermes | The Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images

South by Southwest, the annual tech, film and music conference held in Austin, Texas, has been canceled due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. 

Local government officials announced the update at a press conference Friday afternoon discussing the status of the outbreak and events in the city. Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler said he had declared a local disaster in the city and issued an order canceling the conference. 

The conference had been scheduled to take place between March 13 and 22. In recent days, Facebook, Intel, Twitter and TikTok had pulled out of the conference as large corporations limited travel for employees amid the virus outbreak. 

The conference said it had 73,716 attendees in 2019, 19,166 of whom were from outside the U.S. 

A Change.org petition asking conference organizers to cancel the conference, calling proceeding with plans “irresponsible,” had received more than 40,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning. But before canceling, organizers had said they were working with government agencies to ensure safety of the event. 

A slew of other events as of this week were cancelled or postponed, including Google I/O, the Geneva International Motor Show, Mobile World Congress and Facebook’s F8 developers conference.

This story is developing.

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