by Jason Snell
Santa Clara County bans ‘mass gatherings’
If you were wondering if Apple might hold a product launch event on its campus in the foreseeable future, there’s this note from the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health:
The County Health Officer has issued an order, effective at 12:00 a.m. on March 11, 2020, prohibiting public or private mass gatherings.
A “mass gathering” is any event or convening that brings together one thousand (1,000) or more people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, theater, or any other confined indoor or confined outdoor space.
A “mass gathering” does not include normal operations at airports, shopping malls and centers, or other spaces where 1,000 or more persons may be in transit. It also does not include typical office environments or retail or grocery stores where large numbers of people are present, but where it is unusual for them to be within arm’s length of one another.
The Steve Jobs Theater’s capacity is about 1,000 people, so I suppose Apple could host an event with a smaller number of people and not run afoul of the authorities. But if you’ve ever been to one of Apple’s events at Apple Park, you’ll know that the company is mobilizing hundreds of employees to handle logistics, greet guests, brief press, run the technical aspects of the event… it’s a huge production.
Given the current state of affairs, I don’t think this announcement would’ve mattered to Apple, because I can’t see the company even attempting to pull off a big public events in an era where we’d probably be better off cancelling everything.
If Apple’s supply chain is strong enough to ship new products for the company to sell, perhaps the company will invite a few select members of the media somewhere for individual product briefings. But I don’t expect to see an applauding throng in Cupertino anytime soon.