More Conferences That Would Have Come To The Denver Metro Are Canceling Or Postponing Due To Coronavirus

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Billing itself as a “survival guide,” this magazine faced customers at the check out line at a Denver-area Sprouts supermarket Sunday March 8, 2020.

More public events continue to be canceled or postponed as the COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the state.

The Denver Post’s Colorado State Spelling Bee announced Wednesday it will be postponed to late April.

The Colorado Education Association canceled its Day of Action at the Capitol Tuesday evening. More than 5,000 educators and advocates were expected to attend.

CEA will instead do a virtual version. President Amie Baca-Oehlert said that is still in the development stages.

“Our hope is that we will have more people participate in a virtual manner,” Baca-Oehlert said. “We just hope it’s a way we can continue to engage our educators, community members, parents and supporters of public education.”

Baca-Oehlert said she is not sure at this time how many are expected to participate now that the event is moved online.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock canceled the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade Tuesday and IrishFest also canceled the same day. The American Academy of Dermatology Association canceled their annual conference Monday.

One of the larger conferences, the American Society of Addiction Medicine is not canceling its annual conference in Denver. About 2,000 people are expected to attend the event scheduled for April 2-5.

“We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis,” the organization said in a statement.

The organizers of NoCo Hemp Expo and the 2020 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference both recently announced that they will be postponing their conferences, both of which were supposed to take place this month in Denver.

Morris Beegle, producer of the NoCo Hemp Expo, said his conference will be postponed until August. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco did not provide a rescheduled date. According to its statement, organizers are still trying to figure out a date. 

Colorado had its first presumptive positive test result on March 5. As of Monday afternoon, there are a dozen cases in the state.

Beegle said the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state pushed him to cancel.

“We hadn’t even had a case in Colorado the first of last week,” Beegle said. “Then all of a sudden, there’s eight cases. Every day, it just continued to increase and we had to make a call now.” 

A few dozen attendees had already decided not to come days before the cancellation was announce. 

“[Some] ticket holders requested refunds because they didn’t want to come to the show because of the coronavirus,” he said. “Several speakers and a couple of sponsors were pulling out because of travel restrictions.” 

The NoCo Hemp Expo will still be at the National Western Complex in August. 

The National Western Complex said there have been no other rescheduled events so far. 

Another conference, WiCyS Women in Cybersecurity, cancelled their event that was set to begin Thursday in Aurora at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. The registration team is working on voiding hotel reservations. According to its statement, the organization will provide further information about registration refunds at a later date. 

This comes after the American Physical Society cancelled their annual conference 36 hours before it was set to begin, a move that left travelers asking questions on what to do after they had already arrived in the city.

Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Grant Denn, chair and professor of physics, ended up hosting a few dozen attendees who were supposed to present at the conference. They did an impromptu gathering at the university. About 10,000 were supposed to attend the APS conference. According to their website, the organization is working with vendors to provide refunds. 

Rich Carollo, the director of sales at the Denver Convention Center, said many of his clients are concerned. 

“We’re getting calls and emails about everyday,” Carollo said. 

As of right now, APS is still the only entity that has cancelled their event at the convention center. The center also released a guide on how they are handling their facility amid the pandemic. 

Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, said employers are actively looking at how to reduce the spread. 

“I have seen a huge change instead of hugging and shaking hands, you see in most of our business settings, bumping elbows to say hello to each other,” Brough said. 

Brough said employers are thinking of mandating employees to stay home, especially if they recently traveled to a country that has cases of coronavirus. She said she hasn’t heard of employers telling their entire office to work remotely so far.

Instead, employers are telling people who have recently gone abroad to a country with multiple cases of coronavirus to stay home for two weeks to ensure that they are safe. 

“I think what Denver has going for it is our economy is very service-oriented meaning professional services is a big part of our economy,” Brough said. “So I think where we have some real positives and additional protection is that people can continue to work from home.”