Petition Launched to Cancel Largest Trucking Show Over Coronavirus Fears
Louisville, KY – A newly launched petition is demanding the cancellation of the largest annual trucking show in the United States over fears it could “cause a spreading event” of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus.
The 49th annual Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), the industry’s largest exhibition, is set for March 26-28, 2020, in Louisville, KY, but a new Change.org petition is urging its cancellation.
Petition organizer Troy Becker is asking for support from the public to implore MATS officials and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to reconsider the health risks.
“This show generates upwards of 90,000 attendance and will be drawing in truckers from all over the country, not only will this cause a spreading event within the convention center but throughout Louisville as attendees stay at the local hotels and visit the shops and restaurants throughout the city,” the petition reads. “All of these truck drivers will spread back out after the show and deliver goods to every corner of our country, this IS our supply chain.”
The petition was created on Saturday, March 7, and comes less than a week since MATS organizers confirmed preparations for the event were proceeding as scheduled.
Last week, MATS officials released an update on the actions they are taking to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus.
“We are focused on the health and safety of all attendees, exhibitors, vendors, staff and others involved in the show,” MATS officials said. “We are actively monitoring the situation and will respond quickly to any significant developments that may arise in the next few weeks. We encourage all of our participants to take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the virus and avoid [the] show if they are sick.”
MATS is held at the Kentucky Exposition Center and organizers stated they will continue to “closely monitor the facility for cleanliness and implementing additional disinfectant schedules for public surfaces such as railings, door handles, restrooms, etc.”
Since show officials released the most recent update, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has spoken to multiple companies planning to exhibit at this year’s MATS.
While there is some level of concern, most exhibitors TNN has spoken with believe the health risks are being “overblown.”
Even still, MATS officials are hoping to prevent major exhibitors from cancelling like we saw from Volvo Group last week when it announced it would be pulling out of its plans to exhibit at this week’s ConExpo.
The exhibition, set for March 10-14, is held every three years in Las Vegas, NV, and is North America’s largest construction trade show.
On Thursday, Volvo Group announced its construction equipment arm, Volvo Construction Equipment, and Mack Trucks, would be cancelling its exhibits across an estimated 60,000-square-feet of show floor space.
“We are great supporters of ConExpo, and despite being in advanced preparations for this year’s event, we believe it is the right thing to do to withdraw at this late stage,” said Melker Jernberg, executive vice president of Volvo CE. “Our first concern is the wellbeing of employees, customers and the wider public.”
However, on Friday, Volvo backtracked a bit and issued a clarifying statement saying it was too late to completely pull out.
“At this point in preparations it would not be possible for Volvo CE to remove the equipment and dismantle the booth before the show begins. Instead, a small number of locally hired independent staff will remain on the site for the duration of the show,” Volvo CE said in a statement.
According to the show’s website, more than 130,000 people are expected to attend with more than 2,500 exhibitors.
Both MATS and ConExpo officials are reminding all who will be in attendance to follow proper hygiene protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
CDC officials are advising all Americans to: wash your hands regularly with soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; and stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
So far, the petition to cancel MATS has only garnered a small number of signatures, but TNN will continue to monitor new developments as the show approaches.
For more information on the steps MATS officials are taking to ensure the safety of all who attend, click HERE.