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E3 Canceled

Coronavirus Prompts Many Tech Event Cancellations

COVID-19 caused more cancellations Wednesday. Postponements and other changes were announced by associations including CTA, by the FCC and by other telecom and tech stakeholders. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., worried about conflicting coronavirus messages spread online.

CTA canceled "all or part of several near-term 2020 events" through June, said the association. The April 20 CES on the Hill event was canceled, as were the April 21 Digital Patriots dinner and the CEO Summit June 22-25, said CTA. The May 11-14 Technology and Standards Spring Forum in San Francisco will now be a "virtual event," it said. CTA also postponed indefinitely the June 10-12 CES Asia show in Shanghai, about 500 miles east of COVID-19's original epicenter.

With the expanding U.S. coronavirus outbreak, "companies are halting travel, avoiding group gatherings and figuring out the best way to protect employees and serve customers," said CTA. Canceling the events now will permit member companies to "focus on core operations, plan ahead and conserve resources," it said. "Canceling meetings at the last minute means frustration and lost expense and no gain."

Increased and overwhelming concerns” about COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the E3 videogame expo June 9-11 in Los Angeles, said the Entertainment Software Association. “We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”

Following other technology event cancellations, NAB canceled its annual show for April. “We are currently considering a number of potential alternatives to create the best possible experience for our community,” wrote CEO Gordon Smith.

Conflicting messaging and misinformation” about the coronavirus will “significantly undermine ongoing public health efforts” to fight the disease, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., wrote Vice President Mike Pence. He urged Pence, who chairs the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, to “publicly withdraw and correct” false statements about COVID-19, including those of President Donald Trump. “Information conveyed to the public must accurately reflect the latest guidance from public health experts and other authorities.” Warner's office cited reports of "widespread misinformation" on social media about coronavirus.

Other closings or restrictions were permeating throughout the communications sector. Faegre Drinker is keeping its Washington offices closed, but has reopened other locations, emailed a spokesperson. All 22 offices were closed Tuesday due to concerns about possible coronavirus exposure. No employees have tested positive for the virus, but the offices will remain closed through "an ongoing measure of caution," and will be evaluated daily, said the spokesperson.

The FCC precision agriculture task force meeting March 25 will be “wholly electronic” due to virus-induced “travel restrictions." Organizers canceled a March 21 Internet Engineering Task Force meeting in Vancouver. They're working to put together an “all-virtual” event, an organizer emailed.