As the new coronavirus epidemic has now spread to over 100 countries, with over 105,000 cases globally and more than 3,500 fatalities as of March 8, corporate leaders are deciding how and whether to go ahead with internationally-attended events while protecting employees and customers.
Material Handling Industry's MODEX, the annual automation and robotics show, will be held as planned in Atlanta with an option for registrants who can't attend due to coronavirus-caused travel restrictions to connect with exhibitors via the MODEX 365 app.
"For those of you who cannot attend due to COVID-19, we want to let you know that you can still engage with MODEX exhibitors digitally during the show," MHI said in a news release March 9.
"As MHI values the partnerships that we have with our attendees, exhibitors and members, we are 'thinking outside the hall' and delivering the trade show floor in a digital format to attendees who couldn't attend MODEX 2020," the release said. "To create an additional virtual experience to complement the physical event, our coverage will include podcasts from every MODEX show floor educational session."
"We empathize with everyone who has been impacted by this global outbreak," MHI said.
After the Geneva International Motor Show announced its cancellation due to the spread of the virus Feb. 24, a spokeswoman for Sweden-based ICM told Plastics News, that organizers worked to postpone its 20th International Automobile Recycling Congress in Geneva, originally scheduled for March 11-13 to Sept. 2-4.
"Due to this situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus, we have received in the past few days, cancellations from participants and speakers," ICM said in a letter to customers March 2. "We regret this situation, but the wellbeing of all participants is our top priority. The aim of every congress is to create a special experience for the delegates and to facilitate the expansion of business relationships. Unfortunately, this goal cannot be achieved under the current circumstances."
Organizers postponed American Coatings Show and Conference 2020, originally set for March 31 through April 2 in Indiana. The postponement was "unavoidable," due to the virus situation, organizers said.
The event will be held at a later date in 2020, due to be announced as soon as possible.
Japan-based machinery manufacturer Sodick canceled its 2020 Open House event in Illinois over the coronavirus outbreak.
"As of this morning our corporate office in Japan has requested Plustech Inc. to cancel any large gatherings at our facility for the safety of our guests and our employees due to the outbreak of COVID-19," it said in an emailed statement to customers. "We will have to delay this event until further notice."
The American Mold Builders Association's annual conference will be held as scheduled April 29 through May 1 in Indiana, with special precautions in place to protect attendees.
"We are working closely with the Hyatt Downtown Indianapolis to continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation, remain vigilant and follow recommended precautionary measures, protocols and guideline from various health organizations [CDC and others] and local authorities in an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of our attendees and staff," AMBA said in an emailed statement March 9.
AMBA asked that attendees who plan to visit any travel-restricted regions within three weeks of the conference date refrain from attending. The association said it would issue full refunds to those affected.