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Facebook cancels annual global event due to growing coronavirus fears

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A major economic blow for San Francisco on Friday as Facebook announced it is canceling next month’s global marketing summit because of growing fears of the coronavirus.

Facebook’s annual event draws thousands to the city each year.

Now, nearby businesses say they are concerned how all of this may affect their bottom line, particularly if other conventions follow suit.

Facebook’s event in March was expected to bring in nearly 5,000 people. The San Francisco Travel Association said over the course of four days, the economic impact would’ve been around $11 million. 

But now with the summit canceled — local businesses say they’re concerned about this big loss in possible business.

Social media giant Facebook cancels its annual global marketing summit as fears of coronavirus continue to grow. 

The big event scheduled to take place next month at the Moscone Center meant potentially big bucks for area businesses.

“Well now that they’ve made this decision we’re concerned about it,” Tim Mullins said.

Mullins is the general manager of the Thirsty Bear brewing company just a block away from the center.

He said businesses like his count on busy conferences to bring in money.

“We’re losing thousands of dollars in sales,” he said.

Without the nearly 5,000 visitors the event draws, other nearby businesses are expecting to take a hit as well.

“Obviously we’re a little concerned it does impact our business to a certain extent,” Alex Kivelstadt said. “But in the grand scheme of things we try to keep ourselves active and busy in other ways so that at any given failure point it doesn’t kill our business. It doesn’t kill it.”

Kivelstadt, owner of 1-11 Minna Gallery said his place is an art gallery, coffee shop and a bar–allowing the business to not just depend on the Moscone Center for customers. 

A spokesman for Facebook says they’ve canceled the four-day event out of an abundance of caution over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. 

But the list of companies who have scrapped similar events has been growing.

And those fears may lead to more cancellations or postponed conventions at the Moscone Center.

“One convention isn’t a killer,” Kivelstadt said. “If it was like three months of conventions getting canceled that would be much more of a concern.”

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