CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s another major blow to tourism and to Chicago’s critical convention business.
The cancellation of the National Restaurant Association show that brings 57,000 people to McCormick Place and beyond.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports on the financial toll.
Italian culinary expert Mario Rizzotti has been host at the National Restaurant Association show’s Bellavita Pavilion for the last seven years. But on Tuesday, he got the news he had been dreading.
“Sadly, if anybody’s watching, I’m part of a lot of jobless people right now,” Rizzotti said.
The three-day show starting May 16 is now officially canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Organizers said they were hoping the show would be a beacon of recovery during these hard times.
Instead, it’s the end of a century-long streak.
“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.
“We’re going to miss out on a lot of connections, new business, new innovations in the restaurant business,” Rizotti said.
McCormick Place said the event attendance would have translated into approximately 56,000 hotel room nights. adding to the masses losses being felt by hotels in Illinois.
A recent Oxford economics study found that the potential impact in Illinois could be the loss of more than 26,000 direct hotel-related jobs, more than 119,000 jobs supporting the hotel industry.
Rizzotti said restaurants workers will be looking for jobs, too.
“I’m sorry I have to say it, but there’s a lot of restaurants that if the government doesn’t help us, they will have to close,” he said.
The National Restaurant Association said the show is too big to postpone, but organizers are planning to make the 2021 version of the show bigger and better than ever.