When Will Trade Shows Return? (updated)

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Categories: Covid-19 and Trade Shows, Trade Show Industry News

7/11/2020 UPDATE:

With cases on the rise in many U.S. states, most of the large trade shows scheduled for the fall have been cancelled or converted into virtual events. Virtual events are catching on and are at least putting a bandaid for now on the inability for in-person shows to take place.

Most states have some sort of restriction being placed on the number of people at any particular gathering.

Both shows (Superzoo and MAGIC Apparel Show) from my May update have been cancelled. Superzoo rescheduled for next year and MAGIC has turned into a virtual event.

Right now, the next time-frame to keep tabs on is November and December. Some shows like SEMA Show is still scheduled, but as we’ve seen with other shows, they are subject to change.

It appears at this point that 2 things need to happen since the virus didn’t just ‘fizzle out’ as many (including myself) had hoped:

#1- We need vaccines to start rolling out on a large scale that are effective

#2- Liability Protection for companies. Many companies have travel restrictions in place on employees and will not let them travel for business for liability reasons.

5/29/2020 UPDATES

Right now it looks promising for some shows to resume in September and maybe sooner depending on show and location.

Good sign that Germany gets the ‘Green Light’ to resume trade shows in June. Germany is ahead of us as far as their ‘curve’ goes so this may be a good sign for U.S. Trade Shows.

SuperZoo is planning on holding their in-person trade show starting Sept 1st.

The massive MAGIC Apparel Trade Show is planning on taking place Sept 29th in Las Vegas.

Fingers crossed and stay positive!

Here is the original article from March 20th:

2020 is proving to be the most difficult year for Trade Shows probably since WWII or possibly even the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918/ 1919. The impact is wide spread from a health standpoint and economically. Our heart reels for everyone involved. This is most certainly the biggest challenge facing the industry in modern times.

The United States is just now entering into the ever-increasing numbers and endless news cycles. The rate of growth has been dramatically increasing due to spread, but also due to more available testing. Our hope is that testing catches up with infections and we can start to get everything under control like China and now South Korea has been able to do.

When Will Trade Shows Return?

So all of this begs the question: When will the shows return? When can we resume as ‘normal’ and plan for industry shows even if the number of exhibitors and participants is a fraction of the pre-pandemic months?

For now this is the trillion dollar question (literally). I think there are 3 scenerios that would have to occur in order for trade shows to resume. Hopefully things come into focus more soon, but here are the 3 events needed to rein in this unmitigated disaster:

#1- The Virus’s Fatality Rate is Close to Influenza

According to the CDC’s website, there are approximately 291,000 to 646,000 deaths each year globally depending on how bad the flu season is.

As of this writing (which changes minute-to-minute) there are approximately 11,286 deaths reported so far according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Tracker.

But of course the big concern is that they think the mortality rate will be much higher than even a really bad flu year and that is the problem.

Data is still coming in, but if we discover that the mortality and spread rates are closer to influenza, it may be something that society has to adjust to.

This seems unlikely at the moment with new information coming in each day and that coronaviruses can be especially dangerous to at-risk populations. So for now unless something changes, we can be overly optimistic about the return of Trade Shows while this virus rages on.

#2- Herd Immunity

The next one is ‘Herd Immunity’. This is essentially when enough people in a given population have been infected and recovered so that enough people are walking around with antibodies to limit or prevent the spread of the disease.

Given the above information of estimated mortality figures, this is a freightening scenerio. One that would be lengthy and have a very serious impact on our community and world with untold casualties.

#3- Vaccine Deployment

The best bet is getting a vaccine….. fast! Current estimates however put this at between 12 months and 18 months from now for discover, trial, testing, manufacture and deployment.

Obviously, the Trade Show Industry is already struggling with months worth of shows being cancelled so let’s hope the sooner-the-better.

#4- Antibody Treatment

The last option we have may be some antibody therapeutics that are currently under development. The Covid-19 coronavirus is an antigen and our immune system created antibodies to combat it. Some companies are working to by-pass the vaccines and take a shortcut by developing the antibody therapeutics to treat infected patients and nip it in the bud which would greatly help the process for all of us to return to a more normal life.

The Shows Must Go On!

As they say, the show must go on, but it will most certainly be delayed for quite a while as we all figure out the best options going forward. Just like how we say large gathering close first like Cruise Ships and Trade Shows and then trickle down through smaller gatherings like restaurants and bars, the reverse will most likely be true as things resume again.

We are truly thankful to the healthcare providers and everyone working to put an end to this global tragedy.

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