Organizers have cancelled the annual National Restaurant Association Show, which was set to take place this May in Chicago. A letter posted today on The Association’s site calls the cancellation “unavoidable” as concerns around the spread of coronavirus grow and large gatherings are banned.
The Association said it has been monitoring the situation for “many weeks,” including guidance from both the CDC and the governor of Illinois. The organization also said it had explored “numerous options” to keep the show going, though the letter doesn’t delve into specifics.
The National Restaurant Association show is one of the industry’s biggest gatherings each year, bringing together tens of thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. The Show was set to include a keynote by former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, cooking demos by celebrity chefs like Rick Bayless and Anne Burrell, and numerous panels and workshops over the four-day event.
It’s the latest large-scale show to get the ax, following cancellations from the Inspired Home Show, the Natural Products Expo West, and of course some of the world’s largest events, including South by Southwest, E3, and Google I/O.
“Although these developments resulting from COVID-19 require that the 2020 Show not go forward at this time, we are looking forward to partnering with you to make the 2021 Show the best ever,” organizers said in the letter.
Exhibitors and attendees who already registered will receive an email with further information and instructions on April 7. Meantime, Wingsight Exhibitions, which owns and operates The Show, said attendees and exhibitors could both email questions.