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Seattle's Sakura-Con 2020 Convention Canceled

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
New York, Los Angeles close movie theaters

The staff of Seattle's Sakura-Con convention announced on Monday that this year's event is canceled due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus illness and Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan's announcement on Friday that all permitted events are suspended as of Monday. The convention's organizers stated that memberships purchased for 2020 will automatically transfer to the 2021 event.

This year's Sakura-Con was scheduled to be held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle from April 10-12. The convention was planning to host character designer Hisashi Kagawa, singer Sayuri, rock band Blue Encount, and the staff of the BEASTARS anime.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that all theaters within the city will close as of 9:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti similarly closed all theaters in the city at midnight on Sunday until at least March 31. San Francisco mayor London Breed announced on Friday that theaters must limit screenings to 100 attendees, who must sit at least six feet apart. AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas announced similar policies for their locations throughout the United States.

Meanwhile, The IDOLM@STER Shiny Color Spring Party 2020 event is still listed as taking place at Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall from March 21 to 22.

The Comic Market Committee announced on Sunday that there is a possibility that the summer Comic Market (Comiket 98) dojinshi convention will be postponed or even canceled altogether to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said on February 27 that the government is asking elementary, junior high, and high schools to close until the end of spring break in early April to contain the spread of COVID-19. The government is also encouraging children and others to stay home and avoid large gatherings for the next few weeks. The Japanese government asked last Tuesday that organizers of large events cancel or modify their plans for 10 more days, beyond the original window of mid-March. In March, venues and events such as Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea, Universal Studios Japan, Ghibli Museum, Sanrio Puro Land, NAMJATOWN, and AnimeJapan are canceled, downscaled, or temporarily closed.

The first reported cases of COVID-19 were in Wuhan, China in December, and then the disease began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency on January 30, and announced on Wednesday that it is classifying the outbreak as a pandemic. As of Monday, the WHO reported that there are 167,511 infected individuals worldwide, including 86,434 outside China. 6,606 individuals have died from the disease, including 3,388 outside China.

As of Monday, the WHO reported that Japan has 814 cases of COVID-19 with 24 deaths. These numbers do not include the number of cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. That cruise ship had 712 infected passengers with seven deaths.

Sources: Sakura-Con's Facebook page, IndieWire (Ryan Lattanzio), The IDOLM@STER franchise's website via Yaraon!

Update: Updated with WHO's latest situation report.

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