The event industry is cautiously watching the coronavirus story unfold, challenged by contradictory developments.
On one hand, big-name events—including the Geneva Auto Show and Tokyo Fashion Week—have been canceled due to COVID 19 fears. But on the other hand, the virus has to date had little effect on American travelers. According to a study released by Skift Research yesterday, 88 percent--almost nine in 10 American travelers--have not canceled trips due to coronavirus. Worried citizens are loading up on face masks, while doctors urge us to stop doing that and just start washing our hands more often.
With The Special Event + Catersource kicking off March 9 in Las Vegas, show management issued the following statement yesterday:
We have had feedback from the community telling us that the partnering and learning that takes place at our event drives business opportunities for them and that they value this opportunity to connect and do business. We’re committed to continuing to support these business opportunities by holding the event and creating the best possible experience for everyone attending.
To date, given that over 96 percent of our exhibitors and attendees are North American-based, only a very small number of people have told us they are unable to attend because of travel restrictions relating to where they are based or have traveled to recently.
Our primary concern is and will always be the safety of our guests and colleagues. We, along with the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and [host property] Mandalay Bay are monitoring the situation and following the guidelines set forth by federal and local government and health agencies and are in close ongoing contact with local Las Vegas authorities.
Health authorities have not issued any domestic travel notices, precautions or guidance specific to domestic travel. According to the Health District, southern Nevada and resort properties do not involve any additional risk than any other type of location or property.
Based on all this information, our intention is to continue to serve and support the industry by moving forward with Catersource + The Special Event 2020. To ensure the health and safety of everyone, we are taking very specific control measures around the show and on-site facilities including:
• Mandalay Bay is following recommendations from the Southern Nevada Health District, which focus on general CDC guidance around flu prevention (washing hands, avoiding touching face).
• Adding washing stations and hand-sanitizing stations in the convention center.
• Overseeing that all food safety and sampling guidelines are adhered to. Any exhibitor serving samples is required to comply with all Southern Nevada Health District regulations that pertain to exhibition cooking/sampling.
• Mandalay Bay is continuing to maintain rigorous cleanliness and safety standards throughout.
• Mandalay Bay is placing hand-sanitizer dispensing stations in high-traffic, visible areas including entrances, exits, bathrooms, elevator landings, hotel lobby, showrooms, etc.
• Mandalay Bay is reinforcing cleaning and disinfectant procedures with focus on faucets and toilet flushers, doorknobs and locks, desk and table surfaces, hangers, safes, light/air switches, TV remotes, and telephones.
We are of course guiding all attendees that if for any reason you do not feel well, please remain in your hotel room.
We are consistently monitoring this, and we look forward to seeing you soon.