Collision Conference (Attendance: 30,000) Cancels, Issues Refunds, and Goes Completely Virtual

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Collision Conference, a massive annual gathering for business professionals and tech startups, has canceled the physical edition of its 2020 event in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.  The action will continue online, however.

In a detailed email sent this morning, the event’s organizers indicated that they made the decision “out of an abundance of caution,” and after communicating with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Notably, Collision Conference will still proceed, albeit without its 30,000+ attendees. Ticketholders will instead be able to livestream the event, which has been dubbed Collision from Home.

Over 900 industry leaders, including Uber CTO Thuan Pham, Reddit CTO Chris Slowe, and Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti, have been booked to speak at Collision Conference 2020, though it’s unclear at this time if all these professionals will appear on Collision from Home’s livestream.

Collision Conference ticketholders’ 2020 passes have been automatically transferred to 2021’s event, which is scheduled to take place in Toronto between June 21st and 24th. But ticketholders can also request refunds via Collision Conference’s website, if they’d prefer.

In 2018, Collision Conference, which derived from the immensely popular Web Summit, relocated from New Orleans to Toronto. The Canadian city is considered by many to be North America’s fastest-growing tech hub.

Furthermore, Collision Conference 2020 is hardly the only event that’s changed its plans because of COVID-19 fears; a multitude of music festivals and concerts have been indefinitely postponed as a result of the coronavirus.

On Thursday alone, Ultra MiamiTomorrowland Winter, and Slipknot’s Asia tour dates were canceled; Apple, Netflix, and IBM also pulled out of the upcoming SXSW mega festival.

Toronto authorities confirmed two new COVID-19 infections earlier today; both sufferers have recently traveled abroad (to Iran and the United States), and one is said to have utilized the city’s public transportation just days before being diagnosed. However, health officials emphasized that the infection’s overall risk of spreading remains low. As with most of Canada’s previous COVID-19 cases, the affected parties are in self-isolation at their homes.

Yesterday, Canada’s first community-spread COVID-19 infection—that is, one transmitted to an individual who hadn’t recently traveled abroad—was reported in British Columbia. Seven other infections were also revealed in the province.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has implemented an updated travel advisory, urging Canadians to avoid traveling to Iran until the coronavirus outbreak subsides.

The Islamic nation has struggled to contain COVID-19, and its reported infection total—approximately 3,500 cases—is thought to be far less than the actual figure. Nearly 10 percent of Iran’s parliament members have come down with COVID-19, and over 50,000 of the state’s prisoners have been temporarily released in an effort to prevent the epidemic from becoming more severe.