Riverside County officials confirmed that there are now six cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) active in the county where Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the country, takes place. Three new cases were announced on Monday in Coachella Valley itself, a rep from Riverside County Department of Public Health confirmed to Rolling Stone.
Monday was supposed to mark the start of the area’s BNP Paribas tennis tournament, which has drawn upwards of 450,000 attendees in previous years. Organizers canceled the event less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to start, when news of the area’s first confirmed case broke over the weekend.
“The Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) locally,” read a statement. “As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event. This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.”
Organizers of Austin’s SXSW announced the cancellation of their music festival’s events two days prior to the BNP Paribas developments. While Coachella organizers did not immediately reply to a request for comment, industry discussions of the festival’s possible cancellation has been growing in recent days. Coachella typically attracts 99,000 people a day over six days, according to the festival’s promoter Goldenvoice.
Coachella’s lineup include a variety of international acts and welcomes music fans from around the globe. According to Allianz Travel, the festival brings in 46% more travelers by air than SXSW and 89% more than Ultra Music Festival, which was also cancelled last Friday.
The local area’s economy relies on the massive burst of tourism that comes from two Coachella weekends, as well as Stagecoach, which boasts a country-specific lineup and comes the next weekend. April is a crucial revenue boost for Indio, Palm Springs, La Quinta and the surrounding areas. However, a large portion of the area’s full-time residents are senior citizens, the demographic most at risk for coronavirus-related deaths.
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