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An Open Letter from Terry Lowe

Terry Lowe • Industry News • July 28, 2020

Terry Lowe, publisher of PLSN, FRONT of HOUSE, Stage Directions, and other magazines from Timeless Communications, issued an open letter to the industry on July 28 making a frank assessment on the odds that exhibitors, attendees, and others would risk gambling with the COVID-19 pandemic by flying in from around the country to attend a major convention set for this October. Lowe’s letter to the industry reads:

We’re less than three months out from the fall show—LDI 2020—held here in Vegas. Normally, this would be an exciting time of year with a lot of anticipation, but that seems to have evaporated, leaving dread and anxiety in its place.

It is really a no-win situation. If there is a show, who is going to risk their life to attend? I know I am not going to attend, and I live in Vegas. I am sure attendees who travel by plane will be even more hesitant to come out.

And what about exhibitors? Not too many bosses want to put their employees in jeopardy by traveling and standing in a booth all day with people coming in and out. I know I do not want my employees to be there—although some of them said they would.

Look at what’s going on here in Vegas: the governor has limited the size of gatherings to 50 people as of this writing. The State of Nevada is very serious about this regulation. They just went to court to keep two churches from having services with more than 50 people.

The COVID-19 cases here in the state have risen nearly 300% in the last month, and do not seem to be slowing down. The government also just shut down all the bars in town for a second time to help quell the rise in cases.

We have already paid a steep price for opening too soon. If we keep doing things that lead to the transmission of the virus, it’s only going to get worse. This not political, it is just the facts.

I call on the organizers of the fall show to do what is right by everyone in the industry. Take the safety of your attendees and exhibitors to heart and make it your priority to keep them safe. It is painful to your bottom line to cancel, but it will be even worse if 200 people end up dying from attending your show and another 1,000 become gravely ill. Remember, members of our industry are (for the most part) all an average of 40 years of age, and a ton of them over 50. The older you are, the harder the virus hits you.

There is no amount of hand sanitizer and social distancing that will keep the virus from spreading in a trade show environment. There will always be somebody you are so glad to see (or vice versa) that you will inevitable lower your social distancing diligence just enough for unsafe contact to shake a hand, give them a hug, or just stand too close—mask on or off.

Our industry deserves a quick response. We do not need to be kept in suspense any longer. Whether the show happens or not, there will still be an industry. The question is: how many lives will be put in jeopardy to make the show happen for the sake of an industry already in crisis?

I know there are other shows on the horizon, but they are more than 180 days out and things might change by then. We are practically right on top of the October show.



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