The annual New York International Auto Show, where global car makers planned to unveil 50 new models next month, has been postponed to late August due to the coronavirus.
Press days for the event that organisers say delivers a more than $330 million (Dh1.2 billion) boost to the local economy are now scheduled to start on August 26, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association said on Tuesday. The show will open to the public from August 28 and run until September 6.
"We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus," Mark Schienberg, president of the dealers association, said. "We have already been in communication with many of our exhibitors and partners and are confident that the new dates for the 2020 Show will make for another successful event."
The show co-ordinators said a week ago they had installed 70 hand-sanitising stations throughout the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre on Manhattan's west side in preparation for the event. Dealers were trying to preserve the fate of the exhibition that dates back to 1900 after the cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show, which was called off late last month for the first time since the World War II era.
But the preemptive measures that organisers were planning were not enough to temper concerns about the virus known as Covid-19. The National Guard is being sent to the New York City suburb of New Rochelle to help close large, public gathering spaces to slow down the spread of the outbreak, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier on Tuesday. He referred to the 1,609-square-metre area being set up as a containment zone.
New Rochelle, a community in Westchester County north of New York City, has experienced more than 100 cases, while the city, with a population of 8.6 million, has recorded 36, the governor said.