Apple is latest to join growing list of companies dropping out of SXSW due to coronavirus fears

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Apple is the latest company to pull out of SXSW adding to a growing list of major companies that won’t be at the Austin festival, NBC News reports. Apple was expected to debut three Apple TV Plus original shows during the week.

Amazon Studios announced Wednesday morning it won’t be at the annual festival amid increasing fear of the coronavirus, according to Variety.

The studio had two panels planned for its upcoming projects “Tales From the Loop” and “Upload,” as well as a consumer brand activation. All three have been cancelled.

This decision from Amazon Studios comes one day after companies TikTok, Facebook and Intel confirmed to KXAN they do not plan to send anyone to the tech conference. Additionally, on Tuesday Amazon confirmed on of their employees in Seattle tested positive for COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus.

These departures from the festival are happening as a petition to cancel the event gains steam; as of Wednesday morning, more than 40,000 people had signed on.

SXSW organizers say they are in constant contact with Austin Public Health (APH) and say the event will move on as planned.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, meanwhile, stands ready to act if APH requests a cancellation or change in plans. “This situation is being constantly monitored and re-evaluated daily,” Adler said in a statement. On Tuesday, APH interim medical director Dr. Mark Escott told the Travis County Commissioners Court that at least one person in Travis County is being tested for possible coronavirus.

SXSW runs from March 13-22. The conference drew 73,716 attendees last year, 19,166 of whom came from outside the U.S. Combined with SXSW Gaming and SXSW EDU (which starts next week), the 2019 event drew 417,400 attendees, organizers said. An economic impact report found it contributed $355.9 million to the local economy.

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