Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 20) is looking more likely to be canceled, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The County of Santa Clara’s Public Health Department today issued a mandatory order that requires all mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people in Santa Clara County to be canceled.
Santa Clara County is where Apple’s two main campuses are located, along with many smaller satellite offices. The county includes Cupertino, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose.
The ban takes effect at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time, March 11 and is scheduled to last for three weeks, at least for now. The county is putting the ban in place as it waits for widespread testing to occur and for more information on how the coronavirus spreads.
“This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. The strong measures we are taking today are designed to slow the spread of disease,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer. “Today’s order and new recommendations will reduce the number of people who develop severe illness and will help prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. This is critically important for anyone with healthcare needs, not just those most vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.”
Tech companies were already canceling events before the ban was issued. Facebook and Google both canceled planned developer events that were set to take place in May. Approximately 5,000 folks were expected to attend.
Apple has yet to make an official announcement about WWDC 20. The event is usually held in June at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. While the event would be held well after the end of the ban, Apple may still cancel the account as a precaution.
Apple usually announced WWDC information sometime in March, so we should be hearing about a decision sometime soon. It is possible that Apple may provide WWDC content in digital formats, offering online presentations for media and developers, but we won’t know for sure until an official announcement is made.