In a video message to members and registered attendees on Friday, SFA president Phil Kafarakis said the organization was assessing its options around the Summer Fancy Food Show. It’s scheduled for June 28-30 at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and normally draws tens of thousands of attendees.
Last week, the US National Guard began converting the Javits Center into a makeshift hospital to help relieve New York City’s ERs and ICUs that are overcrowded with COVID-19 patients. New York state has about 50,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
Up to 2,000 beds are being set up at Javits for use within the next week, with no timeline for how long the center will be designated as a field healthcare facility.
Kafarakis said: “The 10x10 booths you’re accustomed to are turning into 10x10 patient stalls. And that timeframe is unclear to Javits and to us. So there are some business nuances that are being worked through.”
He assured that the organization is keeping a close watch on the situation, and that any major decisions regarding the status of the show will be communicated to the public immediately.
“Don’t worry about the Fancy Food Show, stay focused on your family. Stay focused on your immediate business priorities, your teams, your community,” Kafarakis said.
“We’re more than the Fancy Food Show as a community. We’ve got this resiliency to help each other and work through these processes, and these decisions that have to be made.”
SFA has set up a collection of coronavirus resources on its website, including frequent webinars about the pandemic and how it’s impacting the specialty food industry.