Crusader Staff Report
The 26th Annual Black Women’s Expo at McCormick Place will not be held April 3-5 because of the novel coronavirus, according to a statement event organizers emailed to the Crusader Thursday. It’s the fifth exhibition at McCormick Place to be postponed or canceled in the last month to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The fate of this year’s Black Women’s Expo was sealed when Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered that all events of more than 1,000 people be canceled or postponed for 30 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are now 32 coronavirus cases in Illinois. In the U.S., over 1,600 cases and 39 deaths have been reported. Medical experts fear there may be many more unreported cases because of the number of untested people.
Merry Green, president of MGPG Events, Inc. and the Creator & Founder of “The Black Women’s Expo,” released the following statement in response to the governor’s mandate.
“Today, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the joint announcement that all events with a projected attendance of 1,000 people or more must be canceled or postponed until May 1st. This mandatory directive unfortunately includes the Black Women’s Expo. While we are greatly disappointed, we understand the importance of keeping our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, participants and organizers of the Expo safe from potential exposure to the Coronavirus. Additionally, the directive indicates that the situation will be assessed after 30 days, and more guidance will be given on when events can be rescheduled. It is our desire to identify a new date for the Black Women’s Expo and will continue to keep participants apprised as we receive more information. We thank you for your patience and understanding during these unpredictable times. Please continue to follow our website and social media channels for updates.”
The three-day event was scheduled for April 3-5 at the McCormick Place. The Black Women’s Expo normally attracts 30,000 visitors who view 300 exhibits that feature hair, beauty and fashion apparel for Black women. There is also live entertainment and seminars to help Black women improve their lives and succeed in the business workplace. This year, a women’s leadership conference was scheduled as a special addition to the line-up of events.
The Black Women’s Expo historically has been a trade show that primarily is frequented by local visitors. The threat of the coronavirus was less than global trade shows that were canceled at McCormick Place because they draw thousands of visitors from countries all over the world. But with the growing number of coronavirus cases growing locally and in Illinois, the threat of the virus spreading at the Black Women’s Expo became a growing risk.
The NBA, NHL, NCAA have suspended their seasons after Utah Jazz basketball tested positive for the virus. President Donald Trump has imposed a 30-day ban on travel from Europe to the U.S.