UPDATE: On March 2nd, the International Housewares Association decided to cancel the 2020 Inspired Home Show in its entirety. You can read about the cancellation here.
The Inspired Home Show, a big convention put on by the International Housewares Association next month in Chicago, is canceling the International Sourcing Expo portion of the convention due to concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.
The announcement came last Friday, with the following explanation provided on the Inspired Home Show’s FAQ:
The Inspired Home Show is made up of five Expos. The International Sourcing expo, which traditionally houses seven Chinese pavilions offering OEM products, will not open in 2020. This decision was made in collaboration with the Chinese pavilion organizers due to health concerns and challenges related to travel between China and the United States.
The rest of The Inspired Home Show including the Dine + Décor, Clean + Contain, Wired + Well, and Discover Design expos will open as planned. These expos are home to more than 1,600 exhibitors and over 5,000 brands.
Additionally, travel restrictions put into place amidst the outbreak will also impact the ability of people to attend the show. Foreign nationals that have visited China within 14 days of traveling to the U.S. are being denied entry. And US nationals who have visited China in the past 14 days are being redirected to a specified airport for health screening, and could have their movement limited for 14 days after they left China.
This isn’t the first time the coronavirus has impacted the business of conventions. Earlier this year, Mobile World Congress was canceled due to concerns over the virus.
The virus’ spread around the world sparked a downturn in global stock exchanges this morning. All three major US stock indices were dropped with the Dow Jones Industrial Average eliminating all of its gains for the year, according to Bloomberg.
As we’ve reported, the deadly epidemic has impacted food tech’s small corner of the world. Kickstarter projects manufactured in China are delayed, robots are being used to hand out food to quarantined travelers, and new contactless methods are being deployed for food delivery.
As the coronavirus spreads to more countries, we are bound to see more fallout, especially for anything related to travel and in-person business. It should be noted, however, that the Inspired Home Show isn’t completely canceled, the remaining expos will be carry on. Though I imagine hand sanitizer will be in full effect in most booths this year.