Coronavirus pushes GSA to nix FAST 2020

NOTE: This story first appeared on

The General Services Administration cancelled an acquisition training conference scheduled for mid-April in Atlanta because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The U.S. General Services Administration has canceled the Federal Acquisition Service Training (FAST) 2020 conference and all associated meetings," said the agency's March 12 announcement. The conference was officially set for April 13-16, 2020, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

"The health and safety of our conference speakers, attendees, and staff come first," said the statement. "The primary goal of the event was to deliver acquisition training. We are exploring virtual options to potentially deliver some of this important training in April."

The sudden switch has become more common for events, large and small, as local governments have begun limiting gatherings of more than 200 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On March 5, GSA notified conference participants that it will hold the event "as planned." At the time, the agency cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called the immediate health risk from the virus low, as well as recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health and its own emergency response officials

On March 12, the World Health Organization declared the worldwide outbreak of the virus officially a pandemic.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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