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Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting goes virtual

Posted at 11:00 PM, May 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-03 00:00:29-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — The pandemic is causing many changes including a Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders meeting unlike any other.

Saturday Warren Buffett addressed a crowd-less audience.

"It didn't look like an annual meeting it doesn't feel like an annual meeting, it particularly doesn't feel like an annual meeting because my partner of 60 years Charlie Munger is not sitting up here and I think most of the people who come to our meeting come to listen to Charlie but I want to assure you, Charlie at 96 is in fine shape," Buffett said.

Berkshire said it lost $49.7 billion, or $30,653 per class A share during the first quarter.

With that change, downtown Omaha was a lot different this weekend.

Businesses missed out on thousands of visitors, and their spending.

Mary Jurgens has been a shareholder for the past 20 years, she tells 3 News Now she was looking forward to coming down to Omaha from Minden, Nebraska for the annual meeting.

"It is a little depressing that we can't be there but next year will be better," she said.

Jurgens says her late husband bought stock into the company.

"Warren Buffett is known for being able to invest and make money so it was like well this could be a win win," Jurgens said.

She tells 3 News Now it's not just the knowledge she gained from Warren Buffett, but also meeting people from all over the world that makes the trip worthwhile.

"It's uplifting when you go there and you see all these people and then you meet people that you know that you don't expect to see up there you know, and it's just a good time," Jurgens said.

Berkshire Hathaway weekend is the largest annual event the CHI Health Center hosts.

"It feels different down here this weekend," Meca Communications Director Kristyna Engdahl said. "We're used to having tens of thousands of people from across the world come into our facility throughout the weekend and today we're reduced to just a handful of staff members."

The event typically attracts about 40,000 people.

"This was shaping up to be really a record year for us and suddenly that all changed,"Engdahl said. "So we're fortunate and hopeful many of the events that we've lost will reschedule in the next fiscal year, which is the case with swim trials but also we're kinda at the mercy of not knowing what's next."

Jurgens says she understands safety is most important right now because, "we all need to be watching what we're doing and where we're going," she said. "You know we don't go out very often and it's usually just to pick up the necessities."

Despite the uncertainty, Jurgens tells us she's optimistic about next year.

"Bide the time and just believe that we're going to come out of this in a better situation."