The Mayor of Boston has formally requested the Sony Corporation to reconsider its decision to pull out of an upcoming gaming showcase.Mayor Marty Walsh sent a letter to Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s president and chief executive officer, Friday after the entertainment giant announced Wednesday that it would be canceling its appearance at PAX East while citing fears about exposure to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.”We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily,” company officials wrote in a statement posted Wednesday. “We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.”In his letter, Walsh said the risk of contracting the coronavirus in Boston and Massachusetts remains extremely low and that officials have no reason to believe that anyone should cancel their plans to visit the city.The mayor also said that fears about the coronavirus are fueled by confusion and lack of information, which has led to the growth of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiment in Boston and around the country.”These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” reads Walsh’s letter. “They trigger our worst impulses: to view entire groups of people with suspicion, to close ourselves off, and to miss out on the opportunities and connections our global city provides. Boston is united in our efforts to dispel these harmful and misguided fears.”On Feb. 13, Walsh started a social media campaign to help businesses in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, which have been struggling due to concerns about COVID-19, which has killed more than 2,000 people in China.Since the coronavirus spread worldwide, restaurant and bakery owners in Chinatown have lost tens of thousands of dollars in business. Most business owners in the neighborhood said their revenue is down by 50% or more.Last week, hundreds attended a dim sum brunch as a show of solidarity for restaurants and businesses in Chinatown.”As a large, international company, you have an opportunity to set a good example,” Walsh wrote in his letter. “As a leader in technology, you can show that you are motivated by facts, not fear. As a leader in gaming and culture, you can show that you believe in connection, not isolation.”Last month, state and city health officials confirmed that a UMass Boston student tested positive for COVID-19.The man, who is in his 20s, returned from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, Jan. 28. He is recovering at home, where he has been kept in isolation.PAX East, an annual convention that features video games, is scheduled to begin Thursday and run through March 1 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Officials said it will go on as planned with “enhanced cleaning and sanitation.””While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors,” PAX East officials wrote in a statement.PAX East first launched in Boston in 2010. It expanded to the current four-day format in 2018.

BOSTON —

The Mayor of Boston has formally requested the Sony Corporation to reconsider its decision to pull out of an upcoming gaming showcase.

Mayor Marty Walsh sent a letter to Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s president and chief executive officer, Friday after the entertainment giant announced Wednesday that it would be canceling its appearance at PAX East while citing fears about exposure to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

“We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily,” company officials wrote in a statement posted Wednesday. “We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.”

In his letter, Walsh said the risk of contracting the coronavirus in Boston and Massachusetts remains extremely low and that officials have no reason to believe that anyone should cancel their plans to visit the city.

The mayor also said that fears about the coronavirus are fueled by confusion and lack of information, which has led to the growth of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiment in Boston and around the country.

“These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” reads Walsh’s letter. “They trigger our worst impulses: to view entire groups of people with suspicion, to close ourselves off, and to miss out on the opportunities and connections our global city provides. Boston is united in our efforts to dispel these harmful and misguided fears.”

On Feb. 13, Walsh started a social media campaign to help businesses in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, which have been struggling due to concerns about COVID-19, which has killed more than 2,000 people in China.

Since the coronavirus spread worldwide, restaurant and bakery owners in Chinatown have lost tens of thousands of dollars in business. Most business owners in the neighborhood said their revenue is down by 50% or more.

Last week, hundreds attended a dim sum brunch as a show of solidarity for restaurants and businesses in Chinatown.

“As a large, international company, you have an opportunity to set a good example,” Walsh wrote in his letter. “As a leader in technology, you can show that you are motivated by facts, not fear. As a leader in gaming and culture, you can show that you believe in connection, not isolation.”

Last month, state and city health officials confirmed that a UMass Boston student tested positive for COVID-19.

The man, who is in his 20s, returned from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, Jan. 28. He is recovering at home, where he has been kept in isolation.

PAX East, an annual convention that features video games, is scheduled to begin Thursday and run through March 1 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Officials said it will go on as planned with “enhanced cleaning and sanitation.”

“While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors,” PAX East officials wrote in a statement.

PAX East first launched in Boston in 2010. It expanded to the current four-day format in 2018.

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