The COVID-19 coronavirus that is currently sweeping the globe continues to wreak havoc with events everywhere, and this year’s Geneva International Motor Show has just become its latest victim. The annual car expo was scheduled to take place from the 5th to the 15th of March, but it now appears the Swiss government has pulled the emergency brake by banning all events with more than 1,000 attendees. With tens of thousands of people making the trip to the Swiss city for the exhibition every year, it is clear that the affair falls under this ban and is therefore officially dead.
Organizers had been on the receiving end of considerable criticism from automotive staff and the public for their decision to try and press ahead with the event despite the significant risks posed by the fast-spreading coronavirus (it’s not outrageous to assume it has reached Switzerland by now). The advice posted on the GIMS website asking attendees to stay away if they thought they might have the virus raised eyebrows and earned ridicule online. A growing number of employees from car companies had already announced on social media that they would not be attending as a precaution.
The advice posted on the GIMS website asking attendees to stay away if they thought they might have the virus raised eyebrows and earned ridicule online
While organizers might still have been willing to take the risk, the Swiss government obviously wasn’t prepared to, and in a written statement on the website of the Federal Council of Switzerland, it stated the following:
An extraordinary meeting of the Federal Council was held today, 28 February. In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Council has categorized the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act. Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March.
So that’s the end of GIMS 2020, which might be bad news for car fans but really represents the only sensible course of action. We’re sure automakers can arrange alternative ways to reveal all their latest products, and hopefully everything will be back to normal by this time next year.