While issues with outdoor gear supply chains and Chinese manufacturing have already been cropping up as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, ramifications of the virus’ spread, and the concerns surrounding it, are officially impacting outdoor events now too.
Officials at the Sea Otter Classic, in Monterey, California, have decided to cancel the event for now, which was scheduled to run beginning in mid-April, with plans hopefully to reschedule.
“After a thorough review of the coronavirus threat, we’ve decided to reschedule April’s Sea Otter Classic,” reads the event’s website as of yesterday. “We are coordinating with local authorities to determine the best dates to host the 2020 Sea Otter Classic and anticipate announcing those dates by the middle of next week.”
Tens of thousands of people—vendors, pro riders, media, and cycling fans among them—descend on Monterey each year for the Sea Otter Classic. Local businesses look forward to the boost in revenue that comes from thousands of hungry and thirsty cyclists to the area each spring.
“Our sympathy goes out to those affected by coronavirus and we extend our gratitude to all health care workers fighting to contain its spread,” Frank Yohannan, CEO of the event said.
Some cycling races in Europe have been cancelled in recent weeks because of the virus’ outbreak in Italy. Tech trade shows like the Mobile World Congress and Facebook’s developer’s conference have also been shelved. One of the auto industry’s most looked-forward-to conventions, the Geneva Motor Show was cancelled too.
Olympics organizers are fearing that the upcoming Tokyo games will be postponed or outright cancelled as well, spoiling the debut of outdoor sports like surfing and climbing in the Olympics. While the IOC is reluctant to even hint at a cancellation, the New York Times has reported that discussions about holding the Olympics with no fans in attendance, just the athletes, have been floated.
Officials with the Sea Otter Classic made it clear in the days before the cancellation announcement that the possibility was looming. They’d made statements warning the cycling public that they’d been closely monitoring the spread of infection and were considering a postponement. An indication that warnings about large public gatherings and international travel are being heeded.
Outdoor Retailer, the massive outdoor gear conference/trade show, scheduled for this summer in Denver, is still planning to run, though in recent days organizers there have also issued releases saying that they too are monitoring infection spread.
Photo: Presidio of Monterey