European Travel to U.S. Banned, NBA Season Suspended Due to Coronavirus: Thursday’s First Things First

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The Latest in Coronavirus Updates from the Advertising and Marketing World—and Beyond

On Wednesday, the World Heath Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic with more than 113 countries reporting cases, throwing the severity of the outbreak into sharp relief for people worldwide. Advocates for the idea of remote work hope the coronavirus response might mark the turning point when agency stigma around the virtual office finally fades. Meanwhile, brands and events are rapidly shifting their plans, rescheduling and adopting more flexible schedules that allow employees to work from home or conduct events virtually.

Here are the latest updates on major events, travel and businesses:

Trump Bans European Travel to U.S. Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

In a rare prime-time Oval-Office address, President Trump announced the U.S. is suspending air travel from Europe to the United States due to concerns around the spread of the coronavirus. The suspension of passenger travel, which will go into effect Friday at midnight, will last 30 days and exclude travel from the U.K. U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be exempt from the ban. Read the story here.

Sports World Impacted by Coronavirus: NBA Season Suspended, NCAA Events Go “Fanless”

Following Wednesday’s games, the NBA announced it will suspend the rest of the season after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. The result came in shortly before the game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. Consequently, that game was canceled—and the rest of the NBA season was suspended until further notice.

The announcement came after the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel and the NCAA President Mark Emmert released statements Wednesday announcing that the decision to make all championship games henceforth “fanless,” including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, also known as March Madness. Additionally, the Ivy League canceled all athletics for the remaining of the semester, but will allow Yale to determine whether it will compete in the NCAA tournament.

NBC News, ABC Programming Suspend Live Audiences

NBC News will suspend live audiences from its programming starting today, and New York late night shows will start taping without a studio audience beginning Monday. Per guidance from New York City officials, NBC News will suspend live audiences from its programming starting tomorrow in order to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.

ABC also saw impacts: Citing COVID-19 concerns, Walt Disney Television decided to suspend live audiences from attending its news broadcasts and talk shows for the foreseeable future.

How Would a Shift to October Change the Nature of Cannes Lions?

A few hours prior to the WHO announcement, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity announced Wednesday that it has secured a contingency plan in the event that COVID-19’s spread has not been adequately contained. The festival, which is the advertising world’s highest-profile event, says it will decide no later than April 15 whether to stick with the current dates in June or move to October.

If the festival is moved to October, how will it be different? We polled the agency community for their takes. We found a variety of perspectives, including an October edition of Cannes will be a much-needed break from its usual craziness. Another marketer thinks it’s perfect time for Cannes to rethink the entire festival. Read their perspectives here.

IAB Plans for a Virtual NewFronts

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which organizes the NewFronts, said it would allow and encourage companies to stream their presentations instead of relying only on live, in-person presentations that have long been the NewFronts norm.

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