Industry Trade Events React to Coronoavirus

[COVID-19 Updates: See our complete coronavirus coverage here.]

With the spread of coronavirus dominating headlines, major events are taking different approaches to whether their shows will go on.

Today, citing the concern about the COVID-19 virus, organizers of foodservice and hospitality show INTERNORGA 2020, scheduled for March 13-17 in Hamburg, Germany, announced they will postpone their event until an as-of-yet unspecified date.

This follows the announcement that Hotelex, the Shanghai International Hospitality Equipment & Foodservice Expo, originally scheduled for March 29-April 1, postponed its event until June 15.

Organizers of The Inspired Home Show, an annual trade-only housewares show, announced that it has pulled the plug on their event, which was scheduled for next week and expected to attract 60,000 attendees to Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Other events, such as The National Restaurant Association Show, which takes place at McCormick Place in May, are taking a wait-and-see approach — while also planning enhanced precautions to prevent the spread of the virus among attendees.

The National Restaurant Association released a joint statement with Winsight Exhibitions, the show’s organizer, that said as of this week it still plans to hold the event in May 16-19 in Chicago, which takes place at McCormick Place.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely, following all guidance and recommended safety measures issued by the World Health Organization, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health authorities,” the statement said.

“If our assessment of the situation changes, based on new and evolving developments or updated information, we will promptly update this statement regarding the status of the 2020 National Restaurant Association Show accordingly.”

Additionally, the 2020 FEDA Annual Conference scheduled for March 25-28 in San Diego, Calif., announced last week it’s still planning to hold its event.

“Based on what we know today and following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, we are moving forward with our conference as scheduled.”

But leave your handshake at home – the event will be designated a “handshake-free conference,” according to Erin Bedell, the meeting and event planner at the Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association, which organizes the FEDA conference.

“We’re asking people to refrain from shaking hands,” she said. “In addition, we will have hand sanitizing stations in common and high-traffic areas in the hotel and especially areas where meals are occurring.”

Bedell also said that FEDA is looking into providing mobile device-sanitizing wipes for attendees at registration tables.

The organization says, however, it will continue to monitor the situation. “Our highest priority is the health and safety of all FEDA annual conference attendees,” the company said on its web site.

See our complete coronavirus coverage including the latest conference updates here.

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