Detroit — The 2020 North American International Auto Show has been canceled amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The TCF Center, where the Detroit show was set to take place in June, will be converted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency into a field hospital as COVID-19 cases in Michigan continue to rise.
The next Detroit auto show will be staged in June 2021, according to a memo sent to sponsors obtained by Automotive News.
"The health and welfare of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan is paramount," Rod Alberts, executive director of the show, said in the memo. "TCF Center is the ideal location for this important function at this critical and unprecedented time."
In a statement released later Saturday, Alberts said: "With the more than 100 convention centers and facilities around the country being considered to potentially serve as temporary hospitals, it became clear to us that TCF Center would be an inevitable option to serve as a care facility to satisfy our community's urgent health needs."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with several state and federal agencies began assessing TCF Center on Saturday, according to the Corps' Facebook page in Detroit.
The 2020 show, which had been moved from its longtime January slot, was set to take place June 13-20, with press previews starting June 9. Instead, show organizers said, the event will begin June 11, 2021, with the Motor Bella European street car festival. Press preview days will take place June 15-16, while the public days will run from June 19-26.
With the new date on the cusp of summer, the Detroit show was set to be a mix of indoor and outdoor events throughout the city's revitalized downtown for vehicle displays, test drives and other hands-on experiences.
As of Saturday, 4,650 people in Michigan have tested positive for the coronavirus and 111 have died.
Detroit has been hit particularly hard by the virus. As of Saturday, 1,377 people in the city had tested positive for the virus and 30 had died. Michigan residents are under a statewide stay-at-home order until April 13.
FEMA has chosen the TCF Center, in downtown Detroit — formerly called Cobo Center — to serve as a field hospital under contract for the next six months as COVID-19 cases swell in Michigan, according to the memo sent to show sponsors.
The federal government took similar actions in New York in recent days, where the Javits Center, home to the city's major auto show, has been converted into a hospital. The New York auto show, scheduled for April, was postponed until August.
Doug North, the event's chairman, said show organizers were fully supportive of FEMA's decision.
"We're looking forward to 2021 and we're hopeful the world is healthier and available for international travel," North told Automotive News.