“Ultimately, the risk was just too great for public health and the community,” Austin, TX, Mayor Steve Adler (D) said Friday, announcing cancellation of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and declaring a health disaster over the coronavirus threat. The next day, Adler posted a video urging people to go out and socialize at restaurants.
“It really was public safety that drove this. We wanted to make sure we were making a data-based, evidence-rich decision,” Mayor Adler told local Fox 7 on Friday, explaining why he declared a state of disaster and canceled the festival.
On Saturday, Mayor Adler posted on Twitter a video shot at a local restaurant, telling Austin residents that “Now is the time that we should be going to restaurants, going to clubs, buying musicians’ merchandise – helping one another.”
Without SXSW, some in our community could really feel the pinch. You can help. Go out to eat, drink & listen to live music. Support the artists, businesses, and working people who make Austin special. Want to do more? Contribute here: https://t.co/IWTo5ysWH1 #StandWithAustin pic.twitter.com/kGlMWH3HBb— Mayor Adler (@MayorAdler) March 7, 2020
In 2019, the SXSW festival is credited with contributing nearly $360 million to the Austin economy.
In his tweet introducing the video, Mayor Adler urges Austin residents to “Go out to eat, drink & listen to live music. Support the artists, businesses, and working people who make Austin great.”
“I’m here with our senator and our county judge, standing with Austin,” Adler says in the video. “You know, we cancelled ‘South By’ this week, and a lot of people are hurting because of that. Now is the time that we should be going to restaurants, going to clubs, buying musicians’ merchandise – helping one another.”