AUSTIN (KXAN) — As fears of the coronavirus spread, so does an online petition to cancel South By Southwest, with more than 30,000 signatures.
Mayor Steve Adler says he is aware of the petition, but says he is in constant communication with City and Travis County health officials who will ultimately make a recommendation.
The official 2020 SXSW Festival runs from March 13-22.
“If they make a recommendation that SXSW should be closed, I understand SXSW will close it and then we will move forward,” said Adler.
The mayor says, if needed, he has the authority to declare a city health emergency, but says any decision will be based on public safety — not on the potentially millions of dollars SXSW brings to the Austin economy.
“I recognize SXSW is a big activity, but that can’t be the basis for the decision that we make,” he said. “This decision has to made on the the public health and safety of this community.”
Austin Public Health interim medical director Dr. Mark Escott said Tuesday that at least one person in Travis County is being tested for possible novel coronavirus.
However, no tests have come back positive for the virus, he said at the Travis County Commissioners Court.
“The risk, as of today, is low,” Dr. Escott said.
The mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, announced a public health emergency Monday after the CDC released a patient in San Antonio who registered “weak positive” test results for the coronavirus.
Dr. Anita Kurian, Assistant Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, said officials believe 21 people were exposed to the woman. The woman also visited the
Eighteen people potentially exposed to the virus at the hospital are considered medium to low-risk (two medium-risk and 16 low-risk). Three more people were potentially exposed at a hotel, and they are considered low-risk.
You can watch the full interview with Mayor Adler in the video below.