Every spring, about 40,000 people fly to Omaha, Neb. from all over the world for a three-day conference-slash-retreat that is the annual shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), the investment conglomerate headed by Warren Buffett.
This year, despite a growing number of businesses and transportation services imposing travel restrictions amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the 89-year-old billionaire will host his annual meeting on May 2 as scheduled “irrespective of conditions at that time,” Berkshire Hathaway said in an announcement earlier this week.
However, the conference agenda might be slightly different depending on the seriousness of the epidemic at that time. “The scope of the meeting and associated activities may be modified by circumstances at the time, but we have no present plans to do so,” Berkshire said.
Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting, which Buffett refers to as “Woodstock for Capitalists,” is the largest business gathering in the country. Past events included a full-day Q&A with Buffett and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, product showcases and promotions from Berkshire-owned companies, a picnic, a five-kilometer fun run, and dinner for a select few at Gorat’s steakhouse, one of Buffett’s favorite restaurants in the area.
Buffett told CNBC last week that he expected a lower turnout at this year’s meeting, especially as thousands of regular attendees from China, where the coronavirus first erupted, will likely cancel their trips.