ShopTalk Postponed, HIMSS Cancelled, As More Trade Shows Struggle With Virus Fears

March 5, 2020 by Dave Haynes

DSE is hanging in there, but today has seen a couple of high-profile trade shows change 2020 plans in the midst of coronavirus concerns.

The retail conference/trade show/speed-dating event ShopTalk has postponed the show set for Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, rescheduling for September.

And the the 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition set for next week in Orlando has been cancelled.

“We recognize all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference,” says Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS. “Based on evaluation of evolving circumstances and coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making, it is clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.”

I dunno about ShopTalk, but HIMSS makes sense (even though it is extremely last minute-ish, and there were probably people already in Orlando prepping for next week.) I suspect a number of companies are totally pooched on travel, lodging and other costs.

HIMSS says in its statement: Additionally, there are concerns about disproportionate risk to the healthcare system given the unique medical profile of Global Conference attendees and the consequences of potentially displacing healthcare workers during a critical time, as well as stressing the local health systems were there to be an adverse event.

The optics would also be pretty shaky for a health care show.

ShopTalk would have had some signage companies showing or at least taking seats and tables in the show’s vast speed-dating/buyer-seller matchmaking area. HIMSS has, through the years, attracted vendors interested in chasing healthcare/health IT business.

The other shows in Vegas on at the same time as DSE are going ahead, including the very boozy Nightclub and Bar Show, Pizza Expo and CinemaCon.  However, Adobe has turned its annual Summit into an online-event. 

Longtime DSE PR person Geri Wolff was interviewed by the Las Vegas newspaper about the virus and the show’s plans.

The big NAB broadcast tech show set for Vegas about 6 weeks out is also stressing it is a go, despite some exhibitors saying they’re backing out.

However, AV distributor Almo Professional A/V has just cancelled the E4 Experience Santa Clara event that was scheduled for March 13th, due primarily to company-mandated travel restrictions placed on E4 Experience exhibitors and educators.

“Given that California declared a state of emergency over public health concerns about COVID-19 this week, combined with the fact that many of our exhibitors and educators have travel restrictions, we have made the decision to cancel E4 Experience Santa Clara,” says Melody Craigmyle, VP of marketing communications for Almo. “The health and safety of our staff, exhibitors, educators and attendees is first and foremost and we feel that this decision is in the best interest of everyone at this time.”

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