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Amid coronavirus fears, Tucson Festival of Books is cancelled

The   Tucson Festival of Books board of directors canceled the 2020 festival, which was scheduled for this weekend, March 14 and 15, after more than 100 authors withdrew due to fears of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We know the festival brings much joy to many in our community,” an announcement from the TFOB board said, explaining that they anticipated further changes.  “This leaves us with little or no way to plan for author panels or to communicate effectively with the public about those changes.”

Over the weekend, the board initially had decided to make the 2020 festival a “touch free” festival, with authors refraining from shaking hands/hugging or taking selfies with festival goers.

“We realize that this change in course is significant for the Tucson community, our financial supporters, exhibitors, food vendors and other partners,” the announcement said. “We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with you over the next few weeks on sorting through the ramifications of this difficult decision. ”

The festival typically draws 10,000 visitors to the University of Arizona campus. Although no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Pima County as of Monday morning, there are five confirmed cases in Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are seven COVID-19 tests pending.