In a city built on tourism, the coronavirus is creating uncertainty for the coffers of Miami Beach, as well as for the local hotel industry and the companies that depend on it. 

By MiamiDiario Newsroom

For the City, with increased contributions to the budget reserve funds, it is in a better position than previous years to weather an emergency.

After the cancellation of Zendesk's three-day conference last week, eMerge Americas announced on Friday that it would postpone its annual conference scheduled for later this month through November.

In an email sent to residents, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber acknowledged the cancellation of events that draw international visitors, including the cancellation of the City of Miami Ultra Music Festival. While following the health guidelines is a fairly straightforward process, he wrote "it's a much more complicated question when it comes to the extent to which municipalities should actively cancel events and gatherings."

Assuring residents that the City was taking every precaution and urging vigilance, he said “our decision-making must be based on medical care and experience in handling emergencies. Panic shouldn't be part of our playbook."

Gelber's message was posted earlier in the day, before the Florida Department of Health reported that two patients, one in Lee County and one in Santa Rosa County, died. 

Meanwhile, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is providing updates on its website and notes: "The area remains open for business, and we recommend that events and conferences continue as normal while adhering to CDC guidelines for healthy travel habits."

In moving its popular annual tech event from March to November, eMerge released a statement saying "Due to global precautions for the Coronavirus COVID-19, the state of Florida's declaration of a public health emergency, and based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, eMerge Americas postpones its 16,000-attendee tent event to November 4-5, 2020."

For his part, Timothy Schmand, Executive Director of the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District, pointed out that the IDB has a full calendar of events planned for March, including the fourth annual Pride Lights the Night event in association with the City of Miami Beach and Miami Beach Pride, the new musical A Wonderful World, The Life and Music of Louis Armstrong. at the Colony Theater and a pop-up performance by fellows of the New World Symphony on March 15.

In addition to the local businesses that rely on the hospitality industry, the City of Miami Beach relies on resort tax revenue.

When asked to compare the potential impact of the coronavirus to the recent Zika emergency, he responded in an email: “Zika only affected a limited geographic area, while the coronavirus is affecting the entire country and the world. As a result, there are no significant preliminary observations yet that can be extracted, apart from the economic impact that could be substantial”.

With information remiamibeach

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