SXSW is On Track to Happen in Austin

2019 Artist, Khalid — Photo by Steve Rogers Photography/Getty Images

The show will go on.

South by Southwest is not cancelled.

“There’s no evidence to suggest cancelling SXSW makes the community safer,” Mayor Steve Adler said during a press conference Wednesday morning.

If that changes, the city, county and a health advisory panel will take action, Adler said. They are continually evaluating the evidence and data around the coronavirus, he said.

SXSW organizers said the conference will still take place and they have posted extensive information about the Covid-19 Coronavirus on its website with information on how the conference is dealing with the threat. The conference kicks off March 13thand runs through March 22nd.

SXSW is a huge event for Austin. Last year, SXSW attracted 417,400 people to Austin including participation from more than 100 countries. It also had an impact on the Austin economy of $355.9 million, according to SXSW.

And even though city, county and SXSW officials have not cancelled the conference, several tech companies have announced plans to withdraw from various panels, keynote talks, parties and other events.

Facebook and Twitter have both announced plans to withdraw from SXSW amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who was scheduled to give a keynote talk at SXSW, announced he would not be participating because of the coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, the list of tech companies withdrawing from participating has grown to include Intel, SAP, Vevo, Mashable and Tik Tok, according to CNN.And Amazon Studios just announced plans to curtail its participation, according to Deadline.com.

And Author and Podcaster Tim Ferriss has announced he will not participate in SXSW and he took to Twitter to ask Mayor Adler to cancel the event to prevent a widespread outbreak of the virus in Austin.

An online petition calling for SXSW to be cancelled has also garnered more than 44,000 signatures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 80 cases of Coronavirus in the U.S. resulting in nine deaths, and 13 states reporting cases. 

The outbreak first started in Wuhan China with the first reported cases on Dec. 31st, 2019.

To date, there are 90,893 reported cases of Covid-19 in 22 countries globally and 3,110 deaths, according to the World Health Organization press briefing on Wednesday. Officials with the World Health Organizations did not recommend cancelling large events unless there is an immediate threat posed to those participating.

There are no confirmed cases in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Health Services. There are a number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in people evacuated from China to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, according to the agency. But those people are under federal; quarantine and do not pose a risk to the general population. “The individuals will remain isolated at medical facilities until they test negative for the virus and are no longer at risk of spreading it.”

“The risk for all Texans remains low,” according to the Texas Department of Health Services.

The Coronavirus can bring on flu-like symptoms, ranging from mild to severe illness and death. Symptoms may appear between two days and 14 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The best way to prevent the spread of the disease is to stay home if you’re sick. The other recommendations from the CDC include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.