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WGC Match Play still on as South by Southwest is canceled over coronavirus

March 7, 2020

The music was stopped. The band of golfers will still go on.

The World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play will still be played March 25-29 in Austin, Texas, the PGA Tour said in a release on Friday night. The statement comes after Friday’s earlier announcement that the March 13-22 South by Southwest music, film and tech festival, also in Austin, will be canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.

“The PGA Tour is very mindful of concerns regarding the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 in light of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play being held in three weeks in Austin,” the PGA Tour said. “Our number one priority is the health and safety of our tournament teams, volunteers, players, fans, sponsors and anyone associated with the event.

“We have been and are continuing to monitor the developing situation closely through updates from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization. Based upon current knowledge and their recommendations on planning for mass gatherings, we are proceeding as scheduled with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play later this month. We will continue to review the available information with authorities and take appropriate action as advised.”

Austin mayor Steve Adler said during a press conference that he ordered the cancellation of the festival and declared a local disaster in the city, according to the Dallas Morning News. However, there are no confirmed cases in Austin.

“The COVID-19 threat is growing across the United States,” Dr. Mark Escott of the Austin-Travis County Health Authority told the Dallas Morning News. He said that “now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to prepare and provide a measured response to that threat.”

The Tour will have extra hand-sanitizing stations at all restroom locations, along with providing stations in high-traffic fan zones and in the volunteer headquarters. Fans will also be allowed to bring hand sanitizer into the tournament. In addition, thorough cleaning in restrooms and food-vending areas will take place each night.

Friday’s announcement also follows the cancellation of the European Tour’s Kenya Open, one of several golf events worldwide affected by the coronavirus.

“Due to the threat posed by the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Government of Kenya has this morning advised of their decision to postpone all meetings and conferences in the country of an international nature, a suspension which will be reviewed in a month’s time,” the European Tour said in a statement.

“This means the Magical Kenya Open Presented by Absa on the European Tour will now not take place.”

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