Mar 2, 2020 - Technology

Thousands sign petition for SXSW to be canceled because of coronavirus

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.

Go deeper

Netflix and Apple the latest to pull out of SXSW over coronavirus concerns

The 2019 SXSW Conference at Paramount Theatre, Austin, Texas, March 2019. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

Netflix is the latest big name to withdraw from this month's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, amid concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, the streaming giant confirmed to Axios Wednesday night.

Details: Apple told Axios earlier in the evening that it was withdrawing from the event.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 5, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus pushes TED conference back to July

Photo: Glenn Chapman/AFP via Getty Images

This year's TED conference is being rescheduled to July, organizers told Axios, marking the latest incident of the coronavirus derailing a tech event.

Why it matters: Postponing the conference, originally slated to take place in Vancouver next month, denies major players in tech and business a chance to assemble in one place to talk big ideas just as the coronavirus crisis heats up and global markets grow volatile.

Canada and Australia pull out of Tokyo Olympics over coronavirus

A Tokyo 2020 Olympics banner in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Pressure is building on organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to call off the Games, after officials in Canada and Australia announced Sunday night they would not send athletes to this summer's event.

Why it matters: Canada and Australia are the first teams to announce they won't go to the Games because of COVID-19 risks. Both countries have called for the event to be held in the northern summer of 2021.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 23, 2020 - Sports