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SXSW is canceled, but Fiesta moves forward amid coronavirus concerns

The only thing changing about Fiesta right now is the way event organizers are planning for it.

SAN ANTONIO — We are 41 days out from Fiesta.

As the city plans for the celebration, many wonder if concerns over coronavirus will pump the brakes on the city's biggest party.

Austin officials announced Friday that they were canceling South by Southwest for the first time in the event's 33-year history while declaring a local emergency in the city.

Over the past few days, major companies (and Ozzy Osbourne) pulled out of the popular music festival, prompting the cancellation.

Executive Director Amy Shaw said the only thing changing about Fiesta right now is the way they're planning for it.

"Crowds of 2.5 million are expected to pack over 100 events during the 11 days of Fiesta," Shaw said. "When you get to Fiesta, you'll see more handwashing stations. You'll see more hand sanitizer stations."

Jason Bushman and his wife Amy have lived in San Antonio for years. Attending Fiesta is tradition to them.

"You grew up going to Fiesta; you meet all of your friends there," Amy said. You run into friends you haven't seen in 20 years."

They said it's going to take an ask from the city to keep them away this year.

"Sure, we'd follow suit, but apart from that I won't be afraid to leave my house and wash my hands."

Visit San Antonio said they've met every week with city officials and organizations to monitor conditions. This time next month, the River Walk is expected to see thousands of people, and Richard Oliver with Visit San Antonio says the city is "open for business."

"Our mission statement is bringing the world to San Antonio," Oliver said. "Well, you know what - sometimes that gets complicated and what that means is you have to reset and re-think."

In a statement issued after the city of Austin canceled SXSW, San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg echoed the sentiment that the city is open for business, but his office was "closely monitoring the coronavirus situation."

“The start of Fiesta is more than five weeks away, and I will ensure that our decision is informed by the latest guidance from our health professionals on how we best keep our community safe," Nirenberg said.

"San Antonio remains open for business because we have been proactive and prepared. To date, we have no community transmissions.”

So as of now, the show goes on for Fiesta. But even if it's canceled, San Antonio will still celebrate.

"There was one year when I couldn't make it back [to San Antonio]," Jason Bushman said. 

"We did our own Fiesta at home, so we'll be Fiesta-ing no matter what."

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