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Party, event planners lose business over coronavirus pandemic


Natasha Miller expected her San Francisco event planning company to organize more than 600 events this year, basking in the glory of previous corporate parties planned for corporations such as Google and Yelp.

As more cases of coronavirus are confirmed globally, Entire Productions feels the crimp caused by the outbreak as her clients are “pulling the plug” on contracts.

“They’re not giving us solid postponement dates,” Miller, the company’s president and CEO, told USA TODAY. “My prediction is that my business will make 50% less of what it expected to do, if not less.”

From local venues to major music festivals such as Coachella and South by Southwest (SXSW), organizers are canceling or postponing events throughout the country because of the outbreak of COVID-19.

More than 15 events have canceled on Entire Productions. According to Miller, the company, which has 10 full-time employees, suffered a loss of more than $15,000 in the past month alone.

Miller is braced ifor four to six more weeks of cancellations. She hopes events get back on track over the course of the summer. 

Coronavirus fears have led to the cancellation of popular events such as South by Southwest.

“None of this is going to allow us to make up for the lost revenue and growth,” she said. 

The event planning business generates $325 billion of direct spending in the USA and helps support more than 5.9 million jobs with $249 billion of labor income, according to an Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council study in 2018. 

‘No Income at all for this month’

Smaller-scale event planners also feel a high level of uncertainty. JL Imagination in San Francisco, which provides design and audiovisual elements for weddings and private parties, lost all seven events it booked this month, including one hosted by Stanford University, according to Patty Pedreschi, director of sales and marketing.



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