Cannes Lions officially postpones Festival of Creativity as COVID-19 crisis worsens

Cases of the deadly virus have topped 200,000 people worldwide as of Wednesday morning.

With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to spread around the globe, Cannes Lions has decided to no longer hold the International Festival of Creativity this June in the south of France.

Cannes Lions is moving the event to 26-30 October as part of its previously announced contingency plans. On Tuesday, France put a strict 15-day lockdown in place, requiring citizens to not leave their homes in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The virus has killed 148 people in France and infected more than 6,000.

The decision to postpone the festival from June "comes following much deliberation with our partners and customers, as well as, consultation with public health officials, the mayoral office of Cannes and the French Authorities," said Cannes Lions in a statement.

"We acknowledge the challenging circumstances facing us all as a community - we have and continue to be in deep consultation with many of our customers and partners as we adopt our contingency plans. The health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, employees, sponsors and partners remains our first priority," it added.

Last week, Cannes Lions announced that all entries will still be judged and awarded in 2020, regardless of the festival’s timing. 

On Monday, Ascential, the parent company behind Cannes Lions, told its staff to work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

"The global situation is dynamic and changing rapidly, we felt it was critical to provide visibility on June as soon as possible," said Philip Thomas, chairman of Cannes Lions, in a statement. "We will continue to liaise closely with our customers as we develop our plans."

Simon Cook, managing director of Cannes Lions, added in a statement: "Our community is facing unprecedented challenges and collaboration has never been more important. We are focussed now on planning the festival – and our beating heart, the Lions –  to ensure our community is able to recognise the extraordinary work it contributes to business, organisations and society."

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