BREAKING: Coachella may face cancellation as Riverside County declares emergency
Riverside County, home of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, declared a public health emergency on Sunday evening. The first coronavirus (COVID-19) case was confirmed for the county on Saturday evening. At the same time, the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage (30 minutes away from the festival grounds) reported early Sunday it was treating another patient for a possible case.
The 2020 BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at Indian Wells (15 minutes away from the festival grounds and shuttle stop for Coachella) was canceled Sunday, a day before it officially started. The tennis tournament is considered one of the major events in the ATP tour, with prize money exceeding $17 million. With this significant event canceling, Coachella festival faces a high probability of cancellation.
Over 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for the cancelation of the massive festival. Just a month away from the first day of Coachella (April 10-19), pressure increases for the higher-ups of the festival as the coronavirus has arrived in Southern California. Moreover, once the local government interferes, it is game over, as seen with Ultra’s cancellation. Riverside county calling for a state of emergency does not necessarily mean regular life is altered; instead, it is a form of obtaining resources by the state and the federal government.
Residents and attendees of the tennis tournament have called this an overreaction for the single case. However, we are now seeing worldwide cancellation of public gatherings due to the virus. We will see in the following days which path Coachella will follow, but it points to the postponement/cancelation of the festival.