In addition to darkening dining rooms across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the lights to go out on the 2020 National Restaurant Association Show, previously scheduled for May 16-19 in Chicago’s McCormick Place. On the morning of March 24 organizers posted a notice to the show’s site announcing the cancellation and an email was distributed to registered attendees.

As part of an email to registered attendees, show organizers said hotel reservations made through its official housing bureau would be automatically cancelled. Attendees who already paid for their registration will have the option of rolling their fees toward the 2021 show or can receive a refund.

Here’s the message show organizers posted on March 24:

“After many weeks of monitoring the evolving situation around COVID-19, including guidance from the CDC and the Governor of Illinois, it is with great regret that we announce the unavoidable cancellation of this year’s National Restaurant Association Show, which we had planned to hold in Chicago on May 16-19.

We recognize the critical importance of the Show to the industry and we know that this will come as a disappointment to those who had planned for months to attend. While it is not the outcome we wanted, amid all the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, vendor partners and our own staff is paramount. This is our community and we all must be kept safe.

We are so thankful for the support that has already been shown to us as we explored numerous options to keep the Show on schedule. We know you see yourselves as friends and members of the National Restaurant Association Show family. Although these developments resulting from COVID-19 require that the 2020 Show not go forward currently, we are looking forward to partnering with you to make the 2021 Show the best ever.

If you’re an exhibitor or registered attendee, you will have received an email with this information and further instructions will follow on April 7.

We thank you for your patience, understanding, and partnership.”

This is the latest cancellation of foodservice industry-related events. Earlier this month, the Foodservice Consultants Society International – The Americas Division moved its conference to Aug. 24-26 in Austin and the Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association postponed its conference to Sept. 22-25 in San Diego. Here’s a running list of foodservice industry-related event updates.