Move over, Bieber fever. Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is the latest contagion sweeping the world, and its effects might last longer than you think. Late Friday afternoon, Justin Bieber’s team quietly downgraded eight stops of the 45-date Changes stadium tour into smaller arenas. While none of Bieber’s official social media accounts announced the changes, the specific venues have all posted about it and updates have been posted on Bieber’s website.
A source close to the Bieber camp has said the changes are due to markets where tickets went on sale shortly before the coronavirus hit, Variety reports. The affected dates changed venues in Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, and Washington D.C, all of which have confirmed cases of the outbreak. Refinery29 reached out to representatives for Bieber for further details.
Bieber’s tour isn’t the only public gathering to take a hit over the recent coronavirus outbreak. While authorities in major European and Asian countries are banning large public gatherings, U.S. officials have issued travel warnings for several countries and urged event planners to “modify, postpone, or cancel large events for the safety and well-being of your event staff, participants, and the community.”
Following the confirmation of at least 19 cases of coronavirus in Texas, SXSW was cancelled after major guests, speakers, and companies dropped out. The same day, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival announced it would postpone its March dates until authorities were able to provide access to the festival grounds.
Additionally, ticket sales for the Changes tour have not lived up to expectation, Variety reports. While Changes failed to surpass the widespread success of 2015’s Purpose, the album debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 200 Chart, making it Bieber’s seventh No. 1 album and breaking the record for the youngest soloist to do so. The last record holder: none other than the King of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley, who set the record in 1961 at 26.
Announced with a surprise single drop in December 2019, the Changes stadium tour was Bieber’s first tour since his return to the limelight, almost five years after cancelling the remaining dates of his Purpose World Tour due to poor mental health. After announcing his return, Bieber opened up about his anxiety in his YouTube documentary Changes, confessing, “Being human is challenging for everybody. We're all struggling to some degree.”