A major exhibitor is pulling out of the NPE2021 show, warning that it could become a COVID-19 superspreader event, as the organizer of the trade show says it is reviewing options and acknowledges the event could be canceled.
Auxiliary equipment maker Novatec Inc. told officials with the Plastics Industry Association, which runs the event, in a Dec. 17 email that it won't be exhibiting at the May trade fair in Orlando, Fla., and urged that it be canceled because not enough people will have been vaccinated in time.
Tony Radoszewski, president and CEO of the Washington-based plastics association, said in a Dec. 18 interview that the group is still planning to have the show, which typically attracts more than 50,000 attendees over five days.
But he also said they're hearing health-related concerns from Novatec and others, so they are surveying exhibitors and reviewing options, with a plan to make a final decision in early 2021.
He said from a business standpoint, companies want to have the show, but he said it's possible health worries could lead the association to cancel.
"In light of the current activity, with what's going on COVID-related, we felt it necessary to go out and start talking with our exhibitors … to get a sense of where they are," Radoszewski said. "Obviously, things are very fluid at this point in time."
The group's board of directors, which includes many exhibiting companies, will make a final decision early in 2021, possibly in January or February, because companies need time to plan for what is often a multimillion-dollar expense to exhibit, Radoszewski said. The show is slated for May 17-21 at the Orange County Convention Center.