The Atlanta Shoe Market will no longer take place on Aug. 22 -24, due to increasing concerns about COVID-19, it was announced today. The decision came after an emergency Board of Directors conference call earlier on Monday.
In a statement, executive director Laura Conwell-O’Brien attributed the decision to the “increased and overwhelming” concerns about the impact of COVID-19 and the ability to ensure a safe environment for all attendees.
“We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our companies and retailers,” said Conwell-O’Brien. “We do know that it’s the right decision based on the information we have today, as our first concern is for the health and safety of everyone.”
Original plans for the August show included a series of health and safety precautions, such as temperature checks upon arrival; Plexiglas barriers at food and registration functions; and frequent hand sanitizer stations. Despite these measures, the trade show organizers decided that as of July 13, these wouldn’t be sufficient to guarantee safety.
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The Atlanta Shoe Market announced that it would contact its registered exhibitors individually. The next scheduled event is set for Feb. 20-22, 2021.
This announcement comes days after Informa announced the cancellation of its own trade show events scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in September: MAGIC, Project and Micam Americas. Instead, Informa will host a digital-only event over an eight-week period, Sept. 1-Nov. 1, that encompasses all of its brands. For future events, the digital platform will provide a complementary experience to the physical shows.
Both Atlanta Shoe Market and Informa participated in FN’s live roundtable, “The Future of Trade Shows,” on July 7, at which point it was still hoped that the events would be able to go ahead. Both organizers shared their comprehensive plans for health and safety, but the continued rise of cases has created too much uncertainty about their sufficiency.
“A short time ago, we felt optimistic that August was far enough away to confidently proceed with our plans,” said Conwell-O’Brien in today’s statement. “As it stands today, we cannot guarantee that safety, as this virus is spreading throughout our country once again.”
These new developments are representative of the continually changing nature of the pandemic. In addition to the recent cancellation of these shows, changing state regulations have caused some brick-and-mortar stores to close shortly after reopening.