Here Are Some Of The Major Cultural Events Upended By The Coronavirus Outbreak

From Hollywood blockbusters to March Madness, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have rippled across the entertainment and sports worlds.

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads worldwide, at least two countries — China, where COVID-19 began, and Italy — have essentially shut down, restricting major events and asking residents to stay home unless travel is absolutely necessary. Other countries and cities in Asia and Europe, where the virus has become more widespread, have seen much more muted activity over the past few weeks. In the U.S., officials in metropolitan areas where the outbreak is growing, such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle, have encouraged people to work from home if possible, restrict large gatherings and practice “social distancing.”

Consequently, many major cultural events have been canceled or postponed, from sporting events to festivals, as authorities worldwide have recommended limited travel.

One of the first high-profile cancellations: the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Organizers of the annual music-film-and-tech gathering made the decision after major companies such as Amazon, Apple, Netflix and WarnerMedia announced they were withdrawing from the event.

Here’s an overview of some other big cultural events that have been upended because of the outbreak. This post will be updated as more developments unfold.


Producers for “No Time To Die,” the next James Bond installment, have announced that the film will now premiere on Nov. 25 instead of in April.

The film, expected to mark star Daniel Craig’s last appearance as Bond, was the first movie to announce a delay in response to the outbreak. It had already pushed back its release date multiple times due to production delays.

Sony’s live-action and CGI “Peter Rabbit” sequel, “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” will now premiere Aug. 7, after originally being scheduled to open March 27 in Europe and April 3 in the U.S.

Several other Hollywood blockbusters will no longer premiere this spring, including “A Quiet Place Part 2” and the ninth “Fast and Furious” movie, the latter of which has been pushed back all the way to next April.

After first delaying the film’s China release, Disney postponed its live-action “Mulan” remake until further notice, along with the studio’s other 2020 films.

Global box office numbers are down, including in China, the epicenter of the outbreak and the world’s second biggest market for movies. The country has closed its movie theaters amid a nationwide crackdown on travel and events.

Organizers of France’s Cannes Film Festival, held every May, say the show will still go on, even though the French government has banned public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces until the end of May.


Many performers have canceled or postponed tour dates, including Madonna, Pearl Jam, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey and BTS.

On March 11, organizers of the music festival Coachella announced the festival will be postponed until October.

Several orchestras have canceled international appearances, including the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) announced on March 6 that the city’s top performing arts venues would close for two weeks, shuttering the San Francisco Symphony’s concerts.


The 2020 Summer Olympics, slated to be held in Tokyo in July, are still on for now. But officials say they are keeping a close eye on the outbreak’s trajectory, and could postpone the games until later in the year or consider holding events with no spectators.

A small-scale version of that is expected to happen on March 12, when the Olympic torch is lit in Greece “without the presence of spectators.” Greek Olympic officials have cited “the latest decisions of the Greek Government on the protection of public health due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

On March 8, organizers for the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, canceled the event after health officials confirmed a coronavirus case in the area and declared a public health emergency.

Many players had already arrived, including tennis legend Rafael Nadal, who tweeted: “We are here and still deciding what’s next.”

Following several days of deliberations, the NBA announced on March 11 that it is completely suspending the season until further notice, after it was reported that a player had tested positive for the virus. Earlier that day, at least one NBA team, San Francisco’s Golden State Warriors, had said it would play home games with no fans, after the city banned public events with 1,000 or more people.

On March 12, the MLS, NHL and MLB also suspended their operations, and the NCAA canceled its March Madness tournament after initially deciding to hold all games with no spectators.

Across the pond, English Premier League soccer is suspended until April.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of the New York City Half Marathon, which was scheduled to take place Sunday, March 15.

“We know this is a challenging time for everyone, and the cancellation of the NYC Half is disappointing news to many,” New York Road Runners, the group behind the event, said in a statement, “but the resources necessary to organize an event with 25,000 runners on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan have become strained during this difficult period.”

St. Patrick’s Day Parades

Ireland has canceled St. Patrick’s Day parades across the country. Several U.S. cities with major St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have done the same, including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York City.

Lydia O’Connor contributed to this report.

Keep up with the latest updates on the coronavirus at our live blog.

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