Planners 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. FIFA announced on Monday that 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 confirmed case of the coronavirus.
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 leagues will allow reporters access to players only before and after games in a designated area outside of locker rooms and clubhouses, the leagues said in a joint statement.
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.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy announced on Monday that public gatherings were banned and people would be allowed to travel only for work or for emergencies. Even church services are prohibited.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, asked the organizers of sports and cultural events to consider postponing or canceling them. Some theme parks have closed, as have museums. Tokyo’s Nakameguro district canceled its Cherry Blossom Festival, and Okinawa is canceling its Azalea Festival. Japan’s National Tourism Organization is maintaining a list of the 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 music, tech and film festival was to run from March 13 to 22, with events planned throughout bars and party spaces across Austin, and at a convention center.
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.
Southern California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was still on track to begin on April 10. But a petition calling for its cancellation had gathered nearly 15,000 signatures by Monday evening.
China has closed most of its movie theaters, shutting off its $9 billion annual market, second only to North America’s.
The Ultra Music Festival in Miami was postponed until next year.
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 throughout 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 the United States, New York University, the University of Florida, Columbia University and Princeton University were among those that announced they would move to online instruction.
Tariro Mzezewa contributed reporting.