SXSW falls victim to coronavirus

The coronavirus scare has just hit a lot of Texans where it hurts.

Austin city officials have canceled the annual South by Southwest music and art festival. Why? They don’t want to expose the thousands of spectators who had planned to flock to the Hill Country to the threat of the virus.

Well now. This is how you measure the economic impact of the coronavirus.

SXSW means a lot to many folks who flock to Austin each year. They get a chance to experience the Texas brand of music. And oh brother, the event draws plenty of top-drawer acts to the Texas capital city. SXSW brought in an estimated $350 million to the Austin-area economy in 2019.

It might be rescheduled. Or, it might have to be put aside for a year. Maybe longer, yes?

According to the Austin Business Journal: Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said cancellation was a data-driven decision and not made out of “panic.”

“This is a decision based on expert medical opinion that we should cancel or discourage festivals and mass gatherings countywide that are drawing participants from other areas of the country and the world that have documented cases of person-to-person transmission,” she said.

This is a prudent call. It was the only decision that made sense, given the exposure that many folks might have had by mingling with thousands of others.

They call it “community transmission.” It involves people touching other people. There’s a lot of that kind of activity at SXSW.

Good call, folks.

There’s always next year. We hope.

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