Soeren von Varchmin, CEO of CloudFest and Namescon conferences, announced this morning that CloudFest 2020 has been canceled due to concerns about the Coronavirus. The event was scheduled to be held in Germany (Baden-Württemberg) from March 14-19, 2020. The announcement was made this morning via Twitter:
Life is a rollercoaster. Due to public health concerns related to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to cancel #cloudfest 2020. This is a sad and devastating day for our team/ community. More details and a FAQ for attendees at https://t.co/BisFoP7sB9
— Soeren von Varchmin (@svvarchmin) February 28, 2020
Over 7,000 conference attendees from around the world were expected for this annual event. There were also hundreds of exhibitors and sponsors that were expected to attend. I am sure a large percentage of attendees and exhibitors would likely have reconsidered attending the event, but now they do not need to make the difficult decision about whether or not to travel to the event.
World Hosting Days issued a statement about the cancelation. Here’s an excerpt:
“Due to public health concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak, we saw no alternative but to cancel CloudFest 2020. The health and safety of our attendees, partners, presenters, and colleagues is of the utmost importance to us. We were forced to consider the growing risk of exposure, especially in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, where our event is located.
The unclear infection path, as well as the risk of quarantine orders lasting several weeks on short notice, could not be ignored. With over 7,000 people from the Cloud community expected to gather from almost every continent, the risk of inadvertently spreading the virus was just too high.”
According to the CloudFest website, conference attendees will receive a full refund for their conference tickets. Attendees who booked their hotel rooms via the CloudFest registration tool will also receive a refund. Travel and other expenses booked through third parties will not be eligible for a refund via CloudFest. I would imagine some airlines and travel services are offering refunds and/or allowing changes due to the Coronavirus outbreak, so people will need to check with these services directly. CloudFest has answers to many questions on its website.
I do not know if conference organizers are considering a cancelation or postponement of the NamesCon Europe conference to be held in August in Budapest, Hungary. I would probably hold off on making travel arrangements in the short term because of the fluidity of the Coronavirus outbreak.