The 39th annual International Convention and Trade Show of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has been canceled after a March 11 recommendation from the California Department of Public Health to cancel or postpone gatherings of more than 250 people due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The event was slated to be held March 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center.
IHRSA 2020 will not be rescheduled, the association said in a March 12 statement on its website.
“IHRSA exists to serve its members and the health and fitness industry,” IHRSA said. “The convention is one of the primary ways in which we do that, which is why we were holding out hope that the event could go on. We originally believed that continuing with IHRSA 2020 was the best course of action so that we could bring the industry’s best minds together, to talk about and discuss solutions to the virus’s impact on our global industry. Now, based on the latest guidance and official declarations, it is clear that canceling is the right course of action.”
IHRSA said would-be attendees do not need to contact the association to cancel their event registration. The statement also notes that IHRSA’s annual event is planned years in advance and complicated logistics preclude them from rescheduling in 2020.
Since March 6, more than 40 exhibitors—including Life Fitness, Precor, Technogym and Myzone—had withdrawn from IHRSA 2020, citing concerns related to the coronavirus. Additionally, some health club companies—including World Gym International, In-Shape Health Clubs, The Atlantic Club and Retro Fitness—had placed restrictions on company travel, meaning their corporate employees wouldn’t be attending IHRSA.
On March 11, the 15th annual Bash for Augie's Quest to Cure ALS, originally scheduled to be held March 20 in conjunction with IHRSA 2020, was also canceled. However, the Bash's staple auction is still being held virtually.
As of 2 p.m. EST on March 12, there were approximately 130,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 4,700 related deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That includes 1,400 cases and 40 deaths in the United States.
Next year's IHRSA event is March 10-13, 2021, in Las Vegas.