Wendel Rosen LLP’s Food & Beverage Practice Group attorneys have been regular attendees at Expo West from the earliest days of this beloved annual gathering of emerging and established brands, industry insiders, buyers, investors, and service providers. The meaningful gathering of our community, the joy of reconnecting with our friends, and the fun of making new connections to celebrate in the years to come, is what makes this event truly special. This year, though, it is the very act of gathering that also presents a risk that many in the industry have deemed too great to bear.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that COVID-19 is generally thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (approximately 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus, according to the CDC spreads easily and sustainably in a community. Not surprisingly, these factors make attending Expo West a difficult choice for our attorneys. We are in regular contact with our clients, friends and acquaintances throughout this multi-day show, often shaking hands (or giving high-fives), enjoying product samples, and exchanging cards. While we are not suggesting that participating in Expo West must be avoided, we are taking the position that the health of our attorneys and the community that they serve is of paramount concern.
In an open letter to the community, New Hope Network has acknowledged the challenge in hosting an event attended by tens of thousands of people from all over the world given the ongoing spread of COVID-19: “Many of our partners due to attend Expo West have urged us to continue with the show. Many have suggested we postpone it. The polarity of responses leaves us in a difficult position, as we do not want to upset or let down anyone in our community.”
To our clients and industry contacts who have made the difficult decision not to attend Expo West this year, we share your disappointment in missing the show. To those who have decided to attend Expo West, we wish you a healthy, happy and productive show. We hope to catch up with all of our clients and industry contacts soon.