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TheTexas International Produce Association has cancelled the 2020 Viva Fresh Expo due to health concerns from coronavirus COVID-19.

The 2021 event will be March 23-28 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

“We continued to weigh options for postponement but in light of the rapid escalation of COVID-19 and the dangers to public health, we could not in good conscience continue,” Dante Galeazzi, president and CEO of TIPA, said in a news release. “This combined with the fact that the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has recently stated that the evolving coronavirus outbreak could persist in the United States for several more months contributed to this decision.

“The bottom line is that we will not put our exhibitors and attendees at risk.”

The association is looking at options to turn the results of the Clean Eating Challenge into an online event. Four industry members started altering their diets in November and a dialogue of their experiences was scheduled for the conference.

Sponsors, exhibitors and paid attendees can opt to receive full credit, to be applied to the 2021 Viva Fresh Expo. For refunds, TIPA is asking to provide between 80-100% (less Paypal fees for card payments) by April 15. 

“Because a considerable amount of costs have already been incurred to develop the 2020 Viva Fresh Expo and much of the promotion had taken place, we’re asking for this support on a situational basis,” Galeazzi said in the release.

How much of the funds the association can retain will ensure its ability “to continue to deliver the exceptional trade show experience that the Viva Fresh Expo has become known for,” he said in the release.

Exhibitors, sponsors and attendees have been notified, he said, and TIPA has received overwhelming support. 

“It is heartening for us to witness firsthand how the produce industry stands together during these difficult times,” Galeazzi said in the release. “We’re looking forward to the 2021 Viva Fresh Expo which will be held for the first time in the Dallas area.”

For more coronavirus coverage, check out our landing page on the topic here. To contribute to a survey on how the pandemic is affecting the produce industry, click here.

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