Local officials ask Apple and others to cancel conferences and avoid travel due to coronavirus

Santa Clara County has issued a new recommendation this evening designed to combat the spread of coronavirus. As first reported by The Verge, the county is recommending that big tech companies in Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose avoid unnecessary travel and cancel large events.

Santa Clara County is home to numerous big tech companies, including Apple in Cupertino, Google in Mountain View, Tesla in Palo Alto, Netflix in Los Gatos, and many others. Other companies that aren’t headquartered in the area, but still have offices there, might also be affected.

The guidance provided by the Santa Clara Public Health Department is designed to “protect residents of the county from coronavirus disease.” The county is advising that employers:

  • Suspend nonessential employee travel.
  • Minimize the number of employees working within arm’s length of one another, including minimizing or canceling large in-person meetings and conferences.
  • Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
  • Not require a doctor’s note for employees that are sick as healthcare offices may be very busy and unable to provide that documentation right away.
  • Consider use of telecommuting options for appropriate employees.
  • Consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time.

Santa Clara County officials also recommend that these companies should consider “postponing or canceling mass gatherings and large community events where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.”

Of course, the obvious elephant in the room here is WWDC. Apple has not yet made any official announcements about the fate of this year’s developer conference, but all signs certainly point to it not taking place as it normally does due to coronavirus. For example, Google announced this week that it will not host an in-person I/O 2020 over coronavirus concerns. Google I/O was scheduled for May 12-14, which is around a month prior to WWDC.

What do you think Apple should do for WWDC this year? Let us know down in the comments.

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