CHICAGO (CBS) — The Sweets & Snacks Expo became the third McCormick Place conference in one day to announce it will not be held this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The expo had been scheduled for May 18-21.
“We are extremely disappointed not to be able to offer the experience, inspiration, insights and connections so many in our community have come to rely on in association with the event, but the health and welfare of our community is our top priority,” Lauren O’Toole Boland, spokeswoman for the National Confectioners Association, wrote in a news release. “As restrictions and recommendations on mass gatherings continue to build in cities and states across the country, including those issued in the state of Illinois and in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it became clear that cancellation of the show was the only path forward to protect the well-being of our community.”
Earlier Tuesday, the National Restaurant Association also called off its conference. That conference had been scheduled for May 18-20 at McCormick Place, running at the same time as the Sweets & Snacks Expo.
“It is the first time in 100 years that the National Restaurant Association show has not taken place,” said Mary Pat Heftman, Vice Chair of Winsight Exhibitions.
The show was expecting thousands of attendees more than the Inspired Home Show that was canceled earlier this month.
McCormick Place said that event’s attendance would have translated into approximately 56,000 hotel room nights, adding to the masses losses being felt by hotels in Illinois.
Also Tuesday, the American Library Association called off its 2020 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition, which been scheduled for June 25-30 at McCormick Place. But it has now been called off altogether and another conference will not take place until next year.
“ALA’s priority is the health and safety of the library community, including our members, staff, supporters, vendors and volunteers,” ALA president Wanda K. Brown said in a news release. “As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it’s become clear that in the face of an unprecedented situation, we need to make tough choices.”
This year will be the first time in 75 years that the ALA has not held an annual conference. The last time the conference was canceled was in 1945 during World War II.