New Hope Network postpones Expo West following Coronavirus concerns

March 3, 2020
Sebastian Krawiec
Sebastian Krawiec

The event, which was scheduled to take place March 3-7, 2020 in Anaheim, CA was mired by cancellations from exhibiting companies and members of the buying community

New Hope Network (Boulder, CO) has decided to postpone Natural Product Expo West due to concerns about COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus. The event, which was scheduled to take place March 3-7, 2020 in Anaheim, CA was mired by cancellations from exhibiting companies and members of the buying community including Kimberton Whole Foods, HEB / Central Market, Costco, Advantage Solutions, MOM’s Organic, Harris Teeter, National Co+op Grocers, Whole Foods Market, Fresh Direct, Cambridge Naturals, and Advantage Solutions.

As of 12pm PST on March 2, 2020, New Hope released a list of 208 companies that would not be participating in the trade show. At the same time, New Hope was also urged by its partners to follow through with the show. However, it became clear to New Hope that too many people were uncomfortable with attending the show at this time, and the decision to postpone was made hours later.

“As with all our events, it was the intention here at Expo West in Anaheim, to follow official guidance from local authorities and to listen to the voices of the community we serve and support, in order to maximize the health of the industry,” said Fred Linder, group president of New Hope Network in a statement. “Today, it is clear the majority of those voices are saying they want Expo West but not this week. And so we are being guided by that majority in postponing the show.”

Linder added, “We will be working closely with all our customers and partners across the industry to identify a new date for the show later in the year, and providing the service and support to deliver the connections and experience everyone expects from Expo West and the New Hope Network.”

New Hope intends to announce a new date – to take place prior to the summer – by mid-April. The firm is also working with exhibitors and attendees on future credits and supports, focusing on entrepreneurs and small businesses by starting a rebate fund of $5 million targeted at their specific needs.

New Hope had been monitoring the Coronoavirus situation, working with the Orange County Health Care Agency and the City of Anaheim to deliver safety standards. Initial measures to ensure health and safety at the event included 15 food safety advisors, and the placement of additional hand washing stations, dish washing stations, and hand sanitizing stations. In an update on February 27, New Hope clarified why a local emergency was declared by Orange County. “This is in response to the federal government’s attempt to designate a center in Costa Mesa as a future Coronavirus medical support site and has no impact on the Natural Products Expo West event,” explained the company.

As of February 29, 2020, Expo West was moving forward following guidance from the City of Anaheim, as well as state and local health authorities, and in light of the fact that Anaheim theme parks, sporting and event centers, schools and workplaces are operating as usual. As recently as March 1, New Hope was stating its intentions to continue with Expo West.