Are we going to die? And not because of the stupid virus! It’s the goddamn news ABOUT the virus that’s killing me. It’s SO MUCH. Last night, in the span of like, 15 MINUTES we learned the following:
• The US is banning all travel from Europe for 30 days (excep the UK because they’re less virusy? I guess??), which is a real “horse has left the barn” way of addressing a spreading outbreak.
• The NBA has suspended its entire SEASON (a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus).
• TOM HANKS HAS THE RONA.
And here is just a selection of rona-related updates since Monday, when I first wrote about the outbreak’s impact on the entertainment industry:
• The NCAA basketball tournament is still happening (so far), but it will not have spectators.
• The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have been postponed until October, which is better that outright cancellation, I guess.
• Pearl Jam suspended the first leg of their North American tour, which is a bummer because I HAVE TICKETS.
I’m trying not to panic but the goddamn news is making it pretty hard, honestly. I still feel like a common sense approach to personal hygiene is going to take care of things for most people, but then I check my Twitter feed and it’s like, EVERYTHING IS CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, and then I’m like, Oh sh-t, should I be taking this seriously? I was taking it seriously! I just don’t want to give into toilet paper hoarding panic! But I’m starting to get twitchy and weird because of the sheer speed at which this is all happening.
Amidst all of this, CinemaCon, the annual gathering of North American movie theater owners, was also cancelled Wednesday night. They tried to hold out, but the writing was probably on the wall once the Las Vegas hotels started closing their buffets. (Honestly, Vegas hotels closing their buffets feels like a real sign of the apocalypse.) The theater owners have to try and put a good face on for the public, because movie theaters are already vulnerable, and any sign of weakness is just blood in the water. Movie theaters are an industry that might not bounce back after the self-quarantining and public closures end. They’re are already in a precarious position, if they have to close for weeks, or if attendance drops steeply enough, I’m not confident they 100% recover. Whatever ends up happening, and it’s starting to feel like the Hunger Games might, the rona could irrevocably change the face of the entertainment industry. Still not the important part of the story, but when everything else goes back to normal, this is one sector that might look very different.