Life Fitness, Rosemont, Illinois, and Precor, Woodinville, Washington, have withdrawn from exhibiting at FIBO on April 2-5 in Cologne, Germany, due to concerns related to COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus.
Life Fitness made its announcement about withdrawing earlier this week while Precor made its announcement Thursday.
FIBO is one of the largest international fitness trade shows and conventions in the world. Reed Exhibitions, which puts on the FIBO event, has posted a statement about the coronavirus on the FIBO website. In part, the statement says:
“Reed Exhibitions is actively and continuously monitoring the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak, in line with local and national authorities and public health advice and WHO guidelines, and our policies reflect those of the country authority in which our events take place.
“Unless otherwise advised, our events are taking place as scheduled.
“Our current status with regard to the COVID-19 virus remains unchanged: the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors and staff is our number one priority.
“We strongly urge our exhibitors and visitors to refer to the guidelines and protocols as suggested by the WHO www.who.int and local /national public health authorities to contain and mitigate against any further spread of the virus.
“If you have any concerns that you may get caught up in an inbound or outbound quarantine, or are feeling unwell, you may want to reconsider your attendance at the event.”
The virus appears to have started in Wuhan, China, and as of Feb. 25, 37 countries have reported cases of the coronavirus, according to the CDC website. However, the New York Times, which is keeping an updated coronavirus page, reported on Feb. 27 that 47 countries have now reported cases of the coronavirus. The Times also reports that a person in the United States and a person in Germany have tested positive for the coronavirus although they had not traveled to any infected areas or had contact with any people known to have the virus.
As of Feb. 27, the worldwide number of cases of the coronavirus stands at 82,548, according to a coronavirus tracking page being kept by Johns Hopkins. Twenty-six of those cases were reported in Germany. The number of people who have died of the virus is 2,810 worldwide.
The United States has reported 60 cases so far, according to the Johns Hopkins site. The IHRSA show is occurring in San Diego, March 18-21.
Chris Clawson, CEO of Life Fitness, said in a statement that at this time, Life Fitness still plans to exhibit and attend IHRSA, but that the company is “taking additional precautions to ensure the health and safety of our people.”
About FIBO, Clawson said: “After closely assessing global concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak, Life Fitness has made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance to FIBO in Cologne, Germany on April 2-5. We take the current situation very seriously, and the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners are always our top priority. While the risk remains uncertain, as the global leader in commercial fitness equipment, we feel this is the responsible decision to make at this time. We appreciate the additional precautions FIBO is taking to protect attendees and we look forward to continuing to support future FIBO events.”
Precor’s statement related to its withdraw said that the decision was made “on behalf of our customers, employees, partners, and their families. Everyone at Precor hopes that the coronavirus threat reduces quickly in all countries.”
The statement, which was signed by Rob Barker, president of Precor and executive board member of Amer Sports, said that Precor is looking at alternative experiences to share the Precor products it had planned to show at the international event. Those opportunities may include webinars, online product launches and digital executions.