Organizers of all types of events, from the biggest international concerts and conferences to the smallest community gatherings, are facing hard questions about whether to carry on as planned.
They all face the same conundrum: Is a public gathering worth the risk of spreading the new coronavirus?
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the larger events around the world that have been modified or canceled.
Others have taken place with major changes, like the Tokyo Marathon, which was restricted to elite runners. Formula One has said that its upcoming Grand Prix in Bahrain will be closed to spectators, while the Chinese Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for April, was postponed.
Italy and Iran, which are contending with major outbreaks, have canceled sporting events, and Greece barred spectators for a two-week period. Professional soccer games in Spain and Portugal will also take place in empty stadiums for at least two weeks, officials said on Tuesday. A day earlier, FIFA said it would postpone the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The BNP Paribas Open, a major tennis tournament that was scheduled to take place in Indian Wells, Calif., beginning this week, was canceled after local health officials declared a public health emergency in the Coachella Valley because of a locally acquired case of the coronavirus. (More information on the Coachella music festival can be found below; as of Tuesday morning, it was still scheduled to begin on April 10.)
Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League have limited locker room access to only players and essential team staff members.
The biggest question in the sports world is the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in July. Japan and the International Olympic Committee have said the Games will go on, but there have been discussions about a worst-case scenario: holding competitions without spectators. That approach will be used when the torch for the Tokyo Games is lit in Olympia, Greece, on Thursday.
Widespread closings were announced throughout Europe this week. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy announced on Monday that public gatherings were banned and that people would be allowed to travel only for work or for emergencies. Even church services are prohibited.
On Monday, Ireland’s government canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades, including Dublin’s. (Boston, which has a robust Irish-American population, canceled its parade, too.) Several places in Germany, including Berlin, closed all state theaters, concert halls and opera houses. Austria banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has asked the organizers of sports and cultural events to consider postponing or canceling them. Tokyo’s Nakameguro district canceled its Cherry Blossom Festival. The Japan National Tourism Organization is maintaining a list of attractions and events that have been canceled.
Austin, Texas, canceled the 34th-annual South by Southwest festival after tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, withdrew their participation. The sprawling music, tech and film festival was to run from March 13 to 22, with events planned throughout bars and party spaces across the city, and at a convention center. Festival organizers have said that they did not have insurance to cover cancellation by pandemics or communicable disease, and that they would be laying off a third of their full-time staff.
The Tucson Festival of Books, which was planned for March 14 and 15, was also canceled. The book festival is one of the biggest in the country and usually draws over 100,000 people to Tucson, Ariz. The Los Angeles Times postponed its 25th-annual Festival of Books, originally scheduled to take place next month on the University of Southern California campus, until October.
Google canceled its I/O developer event near Palo Alto, Calif., which was scheduled for May. The company usually announces new products and developments at the event.
The organizers of the giant Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place in the picturesque desert of Southern California and is seen as a bellwether for the multibillion-dollar touring industry, were in talks to postpone until the fall, according to a person briefed on the negotiations. Frank Ocean, Travis Scott and Rage Against the Machine are among the acts scheduled to perform. A petition calling for the festival’s cancellation had gathered nearly 19,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.
Hollywood has been watching the spread of the virus closely, and expecting a major impact on box office sales. In one of the industry’s first significant responses, the producers of the latest movie in the James Bond franchise, “No Time to Die,” announced they would move its release from April to November.
In the first major cancellations of the presidential race because of concerns about the coronavirus, Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called off campaign events in Cleveland on Tuesday. Ohio has three confirmed cases of the virus, and Gov. Mike DeWine has called for limiting public gatherings.
Conferences and education
Many businesses and professional organizations postponed or canceled conferences, including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which had organized a global health conference scheduled to take place in Orlando, Fla. President Trump had been among the scheduled speakers.
Schools in Italy, Iran, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and elsewhere have been closed because of the outbreak. This week, many American educational institutions announced they would also cancel classes. In one of the most far-reaching decisions, Harvard ordered all undergraduate students to move out of their dormitories by March 15 and said it would conduct all classes online through the spring semester. New York University, the University of Florida, Ohio State University, Columbia University and Princeton University have also announced they would move to online instruction.
Tariro Mzezewa, Neil Vigdor, Ben Sisario and Matthew Anderson contributed reporting.