Mar 2, 2020 - Technology

Thousands sign petition for SXSW to be canceled because of coronavirus

SXSW 2019
A SXSW panel in March 2019. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

More than 15,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the cancellation of the upcoming SXSW festival in Austin, Texas — though organizers insist the event will go on as scheduled this month.

Why it matters: The show is a huge gathering that brings in tons of tourism revenue to the city, but also brings together people from all over the world into lots of tightly packed spaces.

What they're saying: SXSW organizers said they are "working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event."

  • "There is a lot about COVID-19 that is still unknown, but what we do know is that personal hygiene is of critical importance. We hope that people follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies, and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected ," SXSW said in a statement to Axios.
  • Change.org petition creator Shayla Lee said she is concerned about the hundreds of thousands of people who travel to Austin for the event. "I believe that having an event like this is irresponsible amid an outbreak."

The big picture: In addition to all the tech conferences being scrapped or delayed, such as Game Developers Conference, Facebook's F8 and Mobile World Congress, organizers have canceled the giant CERAWeek energy trade show that was scheduled for next week in Houston.

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