SXSW says its 2020 music conference and festival will go ahead but has issued a statement regarding Coronavirus (COVID19).
The statement says health issues for the Austin community are being considered and while the conference at this stage will not be cancelled, SXSW has issued precautions and advice for people travelling to Austin next week.
Regarding the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, we are proceeding with the 2020 event with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority.
On February 28, Austin Public Health updated their FAQ about COVID-19 and SXSW with the following language:
“Q: Does the COVID-19 situation change plans for SXSW and other large festivals/events?
A: APH will continue to communicate with the CDC and health departments nationwide as many cities host large events. At this time, no health departments in the state have requested the cancellation of any gatherings as the current risk of person-to-person spread in their jurisdictions remains low. Historically, March is not a peak international travel month in Austin, but we will continue to monitor. Information and practices are changing during this rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to follow national guidelines. This being said, there are no imminent plans to postpone any current events. For more information about monitoring and operations click here.
The health of the Austin community and those who visit our City is our highest priority. APH coordinates with South by Southwest (SXSW) annually to monitor and prepare for any public health emergencies during the festival – this year is no different. While in flu season, APH is working with SXSW to disseminate disease prevention messaging to help keep attendees and the entire Austin community safe. APH routinely monitors nearly 80 communicable diseases, which will continue throughout the year as travelers visit Austin every day for various international events. APH is also working with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor and prepare for any local cases of COVID-19.”
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.
Prevention tips from Austin Public Health include:
– Washing your hands for 20 seconds and using alcohol based hand sanitizer
– When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
– Do not attend the event if you are feeling ill. If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, call Austin Public Health at 3-1-1. If it is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1