With the lack of a national coordinated response, Governors of all 50 States in the US have been compelled to establish COVID-19 policies for their respective states and citizens. Presently there are no restrictions on travel between States, although three of them: Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have placed 14 day quarantines on people arriving from a number of hot spots in the country.
What this means for the largest exhibition market in the world:
Most convention and exhibition centers in the US are publicly owned – some by the state, and others by cities. The country’s largest venue, Chicago, IL-based McCormick Place’s Governor decreed it stay closed until Phase 5, when a COVID-19 vaccine or cure are found. New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (another venue over 100,000m2) is in the midst of a tug-of-war between the city and the state – one wants it to open, the other to stay closed, leaving organizers confused at best.
States are in different phases of opening. Below is a snippet where some of them are vis-à-vis trade shows and events.
Nevada is in Phase 2 of reopening which includes 50% capacity for restaurants and bars (including inside dining), gyms and hair/nail salons are open, most of the Las Vegas Strip casinos and resorts are open or opening shortly, and gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted. There is also a mandate for everyone to wear masks when unable to be physically distant. Since some of the largest exhibitions in the US are held in Las Vegas, organizers remain hopeful about holding events during the 4th quarter of 2020.
Florida and Texas reopened much more quickly but are now scaling back due to surges in COVID-19. For the first time since the pandemic began, their governors are calling for everyone to wear masks when unable to be physically distant.
Both States are still committed to holding events and few large events are scheduled for the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL in July including a Junior National volleyball tournament and the Together Again Expo (for the exhibition industry). Another notable event still on the books is the Republican Party Convention slated to be held in Jacksonville , FL for late August. The Dallas Market Center (a permanent facility) just held two concurrent successful market weeks and SISO’s Summer Conference is still a go in Dallas, TX also in August.
Overall, in different parts of the US, there is hope that some 4th quarter exhibitions will take place, although they will probably be smaller.
Historically we have been advised that older people and people with underlying conditions are the highest COVID risk population. Recently however we have seen that age range come down into the 30’s as cities have opened bars and restaurants and patrons have stopped masking and social distancing. This trend points the way for us to seriously consider masking and social distancing policies and enforcement as we look to reopen our events.
Thank you Steph !!!