First was Art Basel Hong Kong. Then the Venice Carnival. Now Art Dubai, the French electronic music festival Tomorrowland, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin ... and the list of cancellations for fear of contagion with the coronavirus continues to grow.
After the economy and tourism, the cultural sector will be the most affected by an epidemic of which, at the moment, there are more than 110 thousand cases and 3,800 deaths worldwide.
In Italy, where 60 million people have restricted freedom of movement, museums, cinemas and theaters have been closed. In Paris, Louvre workers refused to open the doors of the world's most visited museum for two days. While the Art Paris art fair, scheduled for the first week of April, has been postponed to the end of May.
When in Spain there were no more than a hundred cases, Madrid Art Week passed smoothly, with ARCO and its satellite fairs operating as usual; although a week later, a case of Coronavirus was discovered among those attending ARCO (93 thousand) and the self-confinement of many of those who were there, as a preventive measure.
Now, 1200 infected and 28 dead later, it is feared by the Fallas de Valencia, or Easter, one of the dates when Spaniards and tourists move the most, and when massive gatherings are expected in the streets throughout the country to see the processions.
Hours before the Spanish capital announced more extreme measures, including closing its schools and universities and promoting telework, the drop in visitors to the main museums in the city was news: Reina Sofía has lost 50% in the last ten days, while in the Prado, the most visited by foreigners, the fall has been 25%.
However, institutions from other less crowded areas of the country, such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Pompidou in Malaga have not been affected. The cinemas and theaters throughout the national territory also continue to operate normally.
The most recurring question at the moment is whether to be cautious and take drastic preventive measures or ignore the fear that is becoming widespread in the population and continue with our lives naturally. Because what is the use of canceling a concert or festival, closing cultural spaces, if later, on the street, the subway continues to function, or the center of cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, continues to be crowded with tourists.
Beyond coercive measures, personal capacity will always prevail to respect the hygienic-sanitary measures and the recommendations of the ministries of Public Health of each country, which are hardening as an epidemic progress that is here to stay.
Meanwhile, the list of cancellations in the cultural sector for fear of contagion with the coronavirus will not stop growing, as well as its economic impact. Unfortunately, this will be news that we will return to many times in the coming weeks.
"Due to the uncertainty generated by the evolution of the coronavirus" and following the recommendation of the Ministry of Health that travel within Spain be restricted, the Malaga Spanish Film Festival has postponed its 23rd edition, just three days after its inauguration, next Friday, March 13.
Many of the brand-new films in the Malaga show will soon be on the billboards, so they could no longer participate in the official section and its other cycles. The amount of tickets sold will be returned in the next few days.
On the cover: Two people wear a mask outside the Louvre this Monday (EFE)