UPDATE: The Sweets and Snacks Expo has been canceled. For more information, click here. 

The National Confectioners Association says the Sweets & Snacks Expo, set for May 19-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago, will continue as planned amid recent concerns over coronavirus.

In a letter to subscribers, John Downs, NCA president and ceo, said the association is following all safety advice and precautions as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

“This is an evolving public health concern and NCA is committed to providing transparency and open dialogue as we gather additional information,” Downs said. “If our assessment of the situation changes based on new information and recommendations from global, federal, state or local health authorities, we will promptly update our statement and communicate directly with you again.”

Downs noted the NCA has created a coronavirus information page on the Sweets & Snacks Expo website, which highlights the precautions the association and McCormick Place are taking. Medical care will be readily accessible to address immediate health concerns. 

McCormick Place will implement enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, including:

  • Increased cleaning of restrooms and high-touch areas, such as handrails, info desks, door handles, furniture, etc., using the hospital-grade disinfectant Virex II 256, as recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Increased number of hand sanitizer stations
  • Staff training on how to recognize possible symptoms of coronavirus
  • Increased air intake/air change rates during event hours.  

Sweets & Snacks Expo show management also is evaluating on a case-by-case basis the participation of exhibiting companies from countries for which CDC has issued a travel guidance related to COVID-19. In certain instances these international exhibitors are staffed by U.S.-based personnel; in other instances, show management is making arrangements to cancel their 2020 participation and allow them to return for Sweets & Snacks Expo in 2021.