Despite the ever-growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus across the United States, Coachella is still expected to go on as planned next month. However, that could change as the county where the event is being held reported its first case of the virus, TMZ reported over the weekend.
On Monday, the site "confirmed agents for several acts booked for Coachella have been told the new dates are the consecutive weekends of Oct. 9 and Oct. 16." TMZ says an official announcement is likely to come after the fest has notified the performers' teams.
Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser announced Sunday that someone is being considered a "presumptive positive for coronavirus," and will be quarantined at the Eisenhower Medical Center, which is only 25 minutes away from the site of the festival in Indio, California.
Dr. Kaiser told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that he could impose a ban on social gatherings, which would theoretically impact Coachella. "If we do make an emergency declaration based on changes in local conditions, as a public health officer I do have the ability to shut down such large gatherings," he said. "We would do so with as much lead time as possible."
Dr. Kaiser admittedly had no reason to do so at the time since there were no reported cases. When asked how many cases there would need to be in order to reach such a decision, he refused to come up with a number, saying, "The minute I give a number, that number is automatically wrong." Kaiser didn't feel like he should be the one solely held accountable for the future of the festival, adding, "It's the responsibility of these large groups to understand who their attendee base is."
Last week, SXSW was cancelled after a string of high-profile companies, like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter, pulled out of the event amid concerns of a possible coronavirus outbreak. They are now "exploring options to reschedule."