Organisers of Sweets and Snacks Expo continue to monitor US coronavirus situation

The organisers of Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, US, have stated they are continuing to monitor the situation regarding the Coronavirus outbreak, with the show due less than two months away.

Confectionery Production covered last year’s show, which attracted more than 15,000 industry exhibitors representing the largest single market in the world, as well as displays from a diverse range of international businesses.

However, this year’s event between 19-21 May at McCormick Place is facing the unprecedented level of concern surrounding the coronavirus, which has forced the cancellation or postponement of a number of leading trade fairs across the food and drink sector, as well as wider global events calendar, including the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

As the Sweets and Snacks Expo team noted, the trade fair has successfully operated in Chicago for the past two decades, and that it has gained a strong position with the market as the main annual event for the region’s industry. However, state authorities have placed a ban on public gatherings until May 1, just weeks before the trade fair is due to take place.

A statement on the issue read:  “We know that many of our exhibitors and trade customers rely on the show for their successful business operations, and we do not take our role in facilitating that lightly. We continue to receive attendee registrations and have heard from the candy and snack communities that a pragmatic approach to managing through this evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is very much appreciated.

“Nevertheless, current efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus are unprecedented, with widespread cancellation of events, school closures and travel restrictions, as well as calls for “social distancing.” On March 12 the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago together mandated the cancellation of large-scale events in the next 30 days and recommended the cancellation/postponement of public and community events until May 1. On March 15, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued further guidance, encouraging nationwide social distancing and recommending against gatherings of 50 or more people for the “next eight weeks.”

Furthermore, it added that were the event being held this month or next, it would have ‘no choice but to cancel,’ yet with the event falling outside of that timeframe, there was still hope that it could be staged.

Organisers added that they intended to be transparent about progress relating to the event’s hosting in Chicago in light of the ongoing situation with coronavirus, which has escalated significantly in the US over the past few weeks.

The statement concluded: “Our goal is to provide a safe and vibrant venue for professionals throughout the candy and snack industries to connect with one another and resume the normal business of buying and selling America’s most beloved treats and snacks. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation every day, just as you are. We will also continue to be in touch with the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago, whose collective actions in the coming days are likely to impact our decision making.”


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