A government ban on large public events means organizers will have no choice but to cancel or postpone the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.
UPDATE: Organizers of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show have officially confirmed this year's show has been canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus and will not be rescheduled to a later date. "We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors' top priority," Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Foundation Board, said in a statement. "This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision."
With just a few days until the event was scheduled to start, the construction of the manufacturer's stands was nearly complete. Organizers didn't believe the event would need to be postponed a week ago, but the situation changed when the first coronavirus case was announced in Switzerland and the Federal Council's ban on public events with over 1,000 people gathered was imposed today. As a result, organizers have had no choice but to cancel the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.
Dismantling of the event is currently being organized. Organizers fear the "financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant" and "will need to be assessed over the coming weeks". Visitors who have purchased tickets will receive a refund, however.
The 2020 Geneva International Motor Show was scheduled to open its doors to the media next week on March 2. But just a few days before it kicks off, the Swiss health authority has announced that "Large-scale events involving more than 1000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March 2020."
Since the Geneva Motor Show typically attracts around 500,000 visitors every year, organizers will have no choice to either cancel or postpone the event.
"The Federal Council's top priority is to protect the population. It is responding to the latest developments in the coronavirus epidemic and has categorized the situation in Switzerland as 'special' in terms of the Epidemics Act," the Swiss government said in a statement. "This enables the Federal Council, in consultation with the cantons, to order measures that are normally the responsibility of the cantons."
With major new model debuts such as the 2020 Porsche 911 Turbo, Bentley Bacalar and a mystery new Bugatti Chiron, to say it's one of the most highly anticipated auto shows of the year is an understatement.
With the coronavirus epidemic spreading throughout Europe, there has been a lot of uncertainty about this year's Geneva show. The Beijing Motor Show was postponed to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, leading to fears the 2020 Geneva Motor Show will also be postponed or canceled. Organizers assured us the show will still go on but were "carefully observing the situation and its possible implications for its employees, exhibitors, and visitors."
We've been keeping our fingers crossed the show will still go ahead, but the inevitable has happened. It's hugely disappointing, but the situation is beyond anyone's control and public safety will always be a priority. The first confirmed coronavirus case in Switzerland was announced earlier this week, but the virus has spread since then so the government isn't taking any chances.