Updated March 12, 2020 - 5:22 pm
Consumer merchandise trade show ASD Market Week announced Thursday it would be canceling this month’s event at the Las Vegas Convention Center
The twice a year show, aimed at attracting buyers from department stores to gift shops, was to be held March 22-25 and draws in an estimated 46,000 attendees from over 90 countries. It would have been the sixth largest convention by attendance in Las Vegas this year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
In a statement, the ASD Market Week team said recent developments around coronavirus including President Trump’s travel restrictions on foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. from Europe and the World Health Organization labeling coronavirus as a global pandemic spurred the group to cancel the event.
It also added “various company-imposed travel restrictions on employees affecting attendees and participating companies, and the resulting cancellations made by several key ASD customers, partners and speakers, made it impossible to effectively execute a March event that delivers the level of education, connection and customer value our community expects. Driven by our responsibility to ensure the best interests of our ASD community, we made the decision to cancel ASD Market Week.”
But a growing number of exhibitors had been voicing their complaints to the show’s organizer, Emerald Holding, in the days leading up to the convention’s cancellation.
ASD Market did not respond to requests for comment.
There was even a petition created on Change.org by exhibitor Donna Hawes to try and have Emerald cancel the event due to the coronavirus outbreak while also criticizing the organizer for not allowing vendors to receive any refunds if they chose not to attend because of concerns over coronavirus.
The petition stated “people are scared and people don’t want to jeopardize their health and the health of their workers by forcing them to travel and be in large crowds. Not only do we have to worry about being sneezed or coughed on but we have to worry about (handling) money and speaking face to face…as for people attending the show, you can not guarantee safety to any of us.”
The petition had received more than 1,600 signatures by Thursday afternoon.
ASD Market said it will still hold its August 2-5 show in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, several other business conventions and sporting events have either canceled or altered their schedules.