Effects of Coronavirus on the Entertainment Industry

March 19, 2020

The recent outbreak of coronavirus, identified as COVID-19, has impacted all segments of society, including the entertainment industry. The spread has gripped the world with fear and prompted travel restrictions with major events being cancelled or postponed. Tourist attractions are being closed down around the globe, to help control the virus from spreading further.

The virus started from Wuhan, China and has claimed more than 4,000 lives and infected over 118,000 people. Thousands of confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported, mainly in China, where it originated. In the United States, the number is also witnessing a rise. There have been close to 1,300 confirmed cases reported so far.

The entertainment sector like other segments of the society has no option, but to respond to CDC’s warning and prepare for the virus outbreak in America. Concerts, festivals, film and TV shoots, sporting and major events are being canceled, rescheduled, or modified in the US as a result.

Let’s see how the pandemic has had an impact on the entertainment industry and its response to the uncertain situation.

New York


The Met Opera in New York is taking the precautionary measure of instituting a 14-day quarantine for artists and employees travelling to the city from the affected areas. These countries include China, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Hong Kong and Italy. It has stepped up cleaning efforts but the performances are continuing.


Some Broadway shows while taking safety measures are still showing in theaters, however there has been a dip in the prices which shows that coronavirus is hitting the industry hard.

Hamilton is continuing to run in New York but the ticket prices have dropped considerably. Producer Scott Rudin of To Kill a Mockingbird in an attempt to keep the house full has slashed the prices to $50.


Beetlejuice – The Musical, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical and Riverdance continue their New York runs amid coronavirus concerns.


Not Happening!

The annual tech, music and film fest SXSW, that takes place in downtown Austin, has been canceled only a week before it was supposed to get underway on 13 March. The annual festival has never been cancelled in its over three decade long history but public health concerns made its cancelation a priority.


It is not the only large gathering in Austin, some shows continue according to the schedule with safety measures in place. Aladdin is still running in theaters, comedian Gabriel Iglesias and musician Post Malone are also carrying on with their 2020 tours. The iconic band Rolling Stones is also set to make a stop in Austin as part of their No Filter Tour. Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys baseball games at the month end are also scheduled to go on as planned along with heightened precautions.


Not Happening!

In Seattle, the annual comic book convention, Emerald City Comic Con has been moved to a later date in the summers due to the threat of the virus. The event was supposed to be held between March 12 and 16 at the Washington State Convention Center.


The shows to watch out for in Seattle are still plenty. Doug Stanhope will continue with his spell of comedy routines during March in Seattle and The Master of Sarcasm Franco Escamilla is also ready to have you in fits.



The coronavirus cast a dark shadow over the Arnold Sports Festival held in Columbus. It is continuing but with specific restrictions which means that limited spectators will be allowed to attend as ordered by the Ohio Department of Health. It has been partially canceled which means general public will not be allowed, but the athletic activities will go on.


Other sporting events that fans can attend in Columbus include the much-anticipated faceoff between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Then there is WWE SmackDown featuring your favorite wrestlers. And a series of action packed games between two heavyweights The Buckeyes and The Illini. Catch it all in Columbus.


Not Happening!

Ultra Music Festival, one of the most happening 3-day electronic dance music festivals in Miami has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. The ticketholders are not being offered refunds, but there have been talks of discounts/ special privileges or allowing entry in the next event.  


The other events happening Miami include the MiamiBash featuring Maluma, Karol G, Natti Natasha & Arcangel for the big summer party. Or you can catch the Latino legends Aventura as they stop at Miami on their 2020 US Inmortal Tour. Also watch out for teen sensation Billie Eilish as she comes to Miami on her Where Do We Go? World Tour.  Another event to look forward to is the LIT AF Tour hosted by Martin Lawrence featuring DeRay Davis, Earthquake, Donnell Rawlings, and Benji Brown.

More Cancelations Happening!

Growing concern about the coronavirus has sparked a flurry of cancellations by pop stars and others in the entertainment industry. All I Want For Christmas Is You singer, Mariah Carey was one of the first singers in North America to postpone her concert slated for March 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She postponed it to November citing traveling restrictions due to COVID-19 outbreak.

She was followed by the grunge veterans, Pearl Jam who postponed their North American and Canadian legs of tour, but plan to carry on with the European dates. They stated that the risk “is simply too high for our comfort level.”

Zac Brown Band also pulled the plug on their tour and cancelled the remaining dates of The Owl tour. The reunited Riot Grrrl and Bikini Kill have announced to reschedule their tours among rising fears of the coronavirus outbreak.

Kiss on the other hand did not cancel their End of the Road World Tour, but made modifications to it. They are scraping off the meet and greet events after advice from experts. The shows continue as scheduled.

The largest two-weekend long music fest in the US, Coachella attracts over 100,000 fans per day. It was supposed to kick off in April, but has been pushed back to October amid coronavirus concerns. The country music-oriented Stagecoach Festival has also been cancelled for now. Coachella has been rescheduled to October 9-11 and October 16-18. Stagecoach 2020 has October 23 to 25 as the new dates. Organizer of these two events Goldenvoice stated, “At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns.”

The Chicago State University cancelled two scheduled Western Athletic Conference basketball games because of the coronavirus threat. The University of Missouri-Kansas City also laid out its plans of not traveling to a road game at the Seattle University citing concerns over the ongoing outbreak. The NCAA announced that the NCAA March Madness tournament games will still go on.

Note: Amid fears of coronavirus crisis, events are being postponed or cancelled at the last minute, so it is recommended that you make final checks before heading out and also take all the precautionary measures advised.

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