Major Denver convention cancelled last minute due to coronavirus concerns

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DENVER (KDVR) — Thousands of people had plans to fly into Denver over the weekend for the largest physics convention in the country, but now are scrambling after a surprise cancellation.

The American Physical Society cancelled it’s March meeting due to concern of spreading the coronavirus disease.

Attendees, like Savannah Thais, say roughly 10,000 people were expected to attend.

The news came late Saturday, ahead of the conference, which was scheduled to begin on Monday.

“I was like there’s no way because everyone is already here. They should have told us earlier.” Thais said. “I was never even notified about it, I only know from Twitter.”

“Total shock, just disbelief. This has never happened before,” said Olivia Lanes who flew in with her whole lab from Pittsburgh. She was able to get a flight back Sunday evening, after flying in on Friday.

“Took a half hour Uber to our AirBnb and immediately upon getting in the door, found out it was cancelled,” Lanes said.

In a statement, the APS says it’s decision was based on the “latest scientific data being reported.”

“I understand the concern for sure,” Lanes said. “There’s a large international presence, a lot of people are coming form overseas. The general consensus is that, why was it cancelled 12 hours before the start of the first session.”

People like Pramod Lamichhane were able to cancel travel plans ahead of flying to Denver, even on short notice.

“Talking to the hotel and the airlines to cancel my flight and everything,” Lamichhane. “It was pretty disappointing.”

The concern for people is the hundreds of dollars people spent for this conference, and if there will be reimbursements. In a statement, APS says staff will be in touch to arrange a full refund for registration fees, but other expenses like hotel cancellation fees, may be more difficult.

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