Expo West postponed over coronavirus concerns
More than 200 exhibitors had pulled out of the California-based show.
Organizers for Natural Products Expo West have postponed the show, originally scheduled for this week in Anaheim, over concerns associated with novel coronavirus.
In a statement to exhibitors and attendees, New Hope Network said it received several calls from exhibitors and attendees about travel restrictions and control measures for the show, while others called for its postponement or complete cancellation.
"Over the last 48 hours, we have worked with the Community to try and serve those who want the show by delivering a great experience, and support those who want it, but not now, by working on credits and alternatives," New Hope Network said. "It is now clear, despite continued advice from local government and health authorities that the City of Anaheim remains open, that the majority of our Community want the show, but they do not want it now."
Organizers said they intend to announce a new date by mid-April, with the goal of hosting it before summer. New Hope Network said it will work with exhibitors and attendees on future credits and support, with particular focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses. New Hope has set up a $5 million rebate fund targeted for their specific needs.
More than 3,500 exhibitors were expected to participate in this week's show, but as of Monday, more than 200 previously registered exhibitors had opted to skip the event. Several buyers had also decided not to attend, including Kimberton Whole Foods, HEB / Central Market, Costco, Advantage Solutions, MOM's Organic, Harris Teeter, National Co+op Grocers, Whole Foods Market, Fresh Direct, Cambridge Naturals and Advantage Solutions.
“As with all our events, it was the intention here at Expo West in Anaheim, to follow official guidance from local authorities and to listen to the voices of the community we serve and support, in order to maximise the health of the industry," said Fred Linder, group president of New Hope Network. “Today, it is clear the majority of those voices are saying they want Expo West but not this week. And so we are being guided by that majority in postponing the show. We will be working closely with all our customers and partners across the industry to identify a new date for the show later in the year, and providing the service and support to deliver the connections and experience everyone expects from Expo West and the New Hope Network.”
The Los Angeles Times said nearly 50 cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in California, with half including people who contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship or in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. Another 25 cases were in returning travelers, or in five cases, were people who contracted the virus in their communities.