Editor’s note: Global Atlanta is continually updating our curated international calendar with the latest cancellations and postponements. Check specific event listings at www.globalatlanta.com/events for our latest information, which will also be reflected in our Monday morning events briefing. Sign up for that newsletter here.
Updated Friday, March 13 at 6:42 p.m.
International organizations around Atlanta are weighing with increased intensity whether and how to push ahead with events amid an effort to slow the fast-moving Covid-19 outbreak in Georgia and around the U.S.
Some recent cancellations, from the local St. Patrick’s Day breakfast Friday and parade featuring Irish dignitaries slated for Saturday, to a luncheon with Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the United States next Monday, were a go as recently as Wednesday.
But President Trump seemed to change the mood that evening when he announced a ban on foreign travelers having visited any of 26 Schengen-area countries in Europe within the last 14 days, a measure that goes into effect Friday at midnight.
All of the above events and many others have been canceled or postponed. Delta Air Lines Thursday further cut its already reduced international flight schedule, a move that will make travel for speakers and other international guests to major conventions impossible.
Atlanta more broadly is facing an economic hit from a flurry of high-profile cancellations, including the NCAA Final Four, as well as Atlanta United matches and Atlanta Hawks games. Both of the teams’ respective leagues, the NBA and MLS, have suspended their seasons. Major League Baseball pushed back its opening by two weeks and suspended all spring training games.
But smaller events have also been among the casualties. Among many others, the Atlanta Indian Film Festival in May, an educational fundraiser luncheon next Friday with the Cote D’Ivoire ambassador and America Israel Business Connector member reception have all been pushed back or called off. European consular representatives told Global Atlanta that official visits are obviously postponed for the foreseeable future.
Nearly 80 attendees at an event held by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the World Trade Center Atlanta Thursday deployed various “social distancing” measures, awkwardly eschewing handshakes as they listened to speakers talk about the potential supply-chain and trade impacts of the viral outbreak.
As Georgia reported its first death from the virus Thursday afternoon, Gov. Brian Kemp held a news conference in which he announced stepped-up containment and readiness measures while leaving decisions about closures in the hands of local city and county officials. The Georgia legislature suspended its session indefinitely, and most state employees have been ordered to work from home.
The University System of Georgia later announced it will suspend classes for two weeks beginning March 16. Most metro Atlanta school districts have closed, some having moved to digital learning for the next week while they determine their plans for later in the month. Many have created food distribution sites.
Global Atlanta’s Korea Consular Conversation event scheduled for March 19 is being postponed, now that Georgia State University is shutting down for the next two weeks.