PRINTING United, originally scheduled to take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta October 21-23, 2020, will transition to a comprehensive online experience this fall due to constraints surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers stressed that the health and safety of all attending and involved with the tradeshow remains paramount. “The decision to terminate the in-person expo comes after extensive conversations, up-to-the-minute surveys, and projections that the team has been navigating since the onset of the pandemic. Details regarding the new online event experience will be forthcoming.” According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia’s reported Coronavirus cases have risen in each of the past two weeks. The jump comes amid broader testing and the loosening of restrictions on movement and businesses. The state has reported week-over-week increases in four out of the past five weeks – after four weeks of gradually declining cases.
In addition, PRINTING United has met continuously over the past months with experts from the Georgia World Congress Center, the city of Atlanta, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (specializing in mass gatherings) and local authorities, seeking guidance and recommendations on best practices as related to all aspects of the event. “Past attendee and exhibitor feedback highly suggested a willingness for companies to travel and participate in this year’s show up until very recently, when the state of re-opening projections and trends in COVID-19 began to shift,” show organizers revealed.
“The decision to cancel this event did not come easily, and we have waited as long as possible before costs and logistical implications to our exhibitors and attendees became irreversible,” said Ford Bowers, President and CEO of show organizer PRINTING United Alliance. “Many factors are unfortunately out of our control, including travel restrictions and federal, state, and local governmental regulations, as well as the potential for another spike in COVID-19 occurrences. These factors, and the attendant uncertainties around them, have made it nearly impossible to responsibly hold the event.” In another statement released to the industry, Bowers also added: “We cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support and look forward to sharing more details about the online event to come. A member of our expo team will be reaching out to you personally, regarding details of this change. We appreciate your patience as we work to contact each of you in the coming weeks as quickly as possible.”
“We’ve been humbled by the volume of exhibitors and partners who have wholeheartedly expressed the desire and need for PRINTING United to take place in order for their businesses to continue the progression out of this disruption – especially after such a successful PRINTING United showcase in 2019,” said Mark Subers, President of PRINTING United. “While we realize this is not the same as our cornerstone of being together under one roof, we feel it’s the most responsible and beneficial move for all our constituents at this time. We remain committed to bringing the industry an experience like nothing anyone has previously seen before.”
PRINTING United Alliance Chief Economist Andy Paparozzi added that, according to the consensus of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, they expect the American economy to grow robustly in 2021 – by its fastest pace in nearly 40 years! That will give the printing industry a big boost, he said, flipping the mindset from cost-reduction and survival, to capital investment and growth.