• Convention Industry
  • McCormick Place loses second event to coronavirus concern

    Oracle will turn a 5,500-person meeting slated for later this month into an online-only affair, becoming the second major event this week to nix plans at the convention center because of the outbreak.

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    Software giant Oracle today announced it will shift an upcoming conference scheduled at McCormick Place to an online-only format amid coronavirus concerns, becoming the second event this week to cancel its trip to the Near South Side convention because of the outbreak.

    "Due to increasing concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and to help protect the health and safety of our customers, employees, partners and everyone who helps host the event, Oracle is postponing the in-person component of our upcoming Oracle Modern Business Experience conference," the Bay Area-based company said on its website. The conference had been slated for later this month.

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    The move comes two days after the Rosemont-based International Housewares Association axed its Inspired Home Show79彩票注册网址 scheduled for March 14-17 at McCormick Place, citing the coronavirus outbreak.

    79彩票注册网址With an estimated attendance of 5,500 people, the Oracle event is much smaller than the 56,000 people who were expected at the IHA trade show. It's unclear how many hotel room nights had been booked in connection with the Oracle conference.

    79彩票注册网址The cancellations deal a blow to the convention center and the many hotels and businesses that thrive on its event visitors. Tourism bureau Choose Chicago estimated the nine major events scheduled there over the next 90 days would account for more than $460 million of spending.

    79彩票注册网址One of those events, an American College of Cardiology expo set for March 28-30, wrote on its website yesterday that it is still on. The Washington D.C.-based group "is collaborating with the McCormick Place Convention Center, the city of Chicago and other conference stakeholders to assess risk and develop an onsite readiness and reaction plan," it said in a statement. "Expect increased hand sanitizer stations, attendee educational materials on ways to minimize risk and more."

    Other upcoming events on the McCormick Place calendar include an annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics April 2-4, which brings about 10,000 attendees to the convention center, as well as a national conference of the National School Boards Association April 4-6, which has an estimated attendance of 7,000, according to the McCormick Place website.

    79彩票注册网址The school boards group said in a statement on its website that it will proceed as scheduled with its event, but it is "closely monitoring" the situation and "seeking guidance from the local health, public safety and transportation authorities to make sure that appropriate disease prevention, monitoring and response protocols are in place for the conference."

    79彩票注册网址McCormick Place is a key economic engine for the city, hosting 50 to 60 major non-public events a year that account for close to $900 million in annual local spending, according to a 2017 study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in a news conference today, said she was disappointed at the cancellations, but unsurprised.

    “We thrive on our convention and tourism business. Obviously there’s an economic impact," she said. "A number of conventions will continue to move forward" and "preparation is extraordinarily high."

    79彩票注册网址"Cities like Chicago that are major convention centers across the world are experiencing concerns and cancellations," the mayor said, adding she was in contact with restaurant and hotel associations through Choose Chicago. "Our hope is that once this virus runs its course, we'll be back to business as usual."

    Crain's reporter A.D. Quig contributed. 

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