Coronavirus Disrupts Major San Diego Convention

Attendance for next week's "OFC 2020" conference and exhibition now projected at nearly half of the original estimate

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Organizers of "OFC 2020" - The Optical Fiber Communications Conference and Exhibition scheduled to begin Tuesday at the San Diego Convention Center say the event will continue, but with fewer people due to the Coronavirus.

The convention center events calendar lists attendance for the conference at 8,000. Original attendance was 15,500 people, organizers told NBC 7.

The significant downsizing marks an early warning sign for San Diego's tourism and hospitality sector. Downtown restaurants and hotel owners are bracing for the economic impact of the coronavirus as more and more people choose to avoid large gatherings.

A page on the OFC 2020 website titled "Update On Coronavirus" says:

"We respect the decision of those exhibitors and registrants who decided to cancel their participation due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). We understand that many attendees from China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, and speakers who are prohibited from traveling due to their institutional/ corporate policies, will be unable to participate in person ."

Conference organizers say they'll have extra hand washing and sanitizing stations and will rely more heavily on video conferencing during presentations.

Attendees have also been instructed to abide by a “no-handshake policy”.

San Diego County Public Health officials said there is no need to cancel large events at this time because the threat of the coronavirus to the general public remains fairly low.

Organizers of the CRSSD Festival at Waterfront Park say the weekend event will go on as planned both Saturday and Sunday.

Another large event on Sunday, the 8th annual International Mariachi Festival, is also moving forward without any disruptions at Bayside Park in Chula Vista.

Organizers did say the event will have more hand washing and hand sanitizing stations than years past.

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