Sony has announced it will no longer take part in this year's PAX East, saying it was concerned about the spread of COVID-19, also called novel coronavirus. The popular gaming conference is set to take place next week at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
"We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily," Sony wrote in a statement published on its PlayStation Blog. "We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."
The event will move forward with "enhanced cleaning and sanitation" measures during this year's convention, organizers said in a statement released Wednesday.
"While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors," the statement read.
Earlier this month, public health officials confirmed a Boston resident who traveled to Wuhan had contracted novel coronavirus. The man, who was not identified, was not held at a hospital and has been recovering without issue.
Speaking after an event in Nubian Square on Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker emphasized that the area was safe.
"All the guidance we’re getting from the CDC and from the other national entities that are tracking this is that, we are an extremely low risk here," Baker said. "I can’t speak, however, for what people in other parts of the world or even other parts of the country, what kinds of decisions they might choose to make based on the guidance they’re getting from public health officials and national security folks in their states or their or their countries."
Fears about coronavirus have been directed at Chinese businesses in particular. Restaurants in Boston's Chinatown report the worst sales they've had in years, despite the single reported case in the city.
Walsh did not speak directly about the Sony decsion on Wednesday but diud address what he called "hysteria" around coronavirus.
"So let’s be honest. I mean, there is a concern here," he said. "And I think with with with social media today and the way the press is covering it, it’s front and center every day. So you’re hearing stories you can read, you know, papers from overseas now pretty easily. So, I mean, the hysteria is something that we have to deal with. But I think as of right now, my concern, I wouldn’t be too concerned in Boston.
This article was originally published on February 19, 2020.