Updated: Restaurants, Hotels and Wine Trade Shows Suffer as Coronavirus Spreads

Germany's ProWein and Italy's Vinitaly have been postponed due to the spread of COVID-19, as has Vinexpo Hong Kong; in Italy, restaurants and hotels are seeing few guests

Updated: Restaurants, Hotels and Wine Trade Shows Suffer as Coronavirus Spreads
People are wearing masks in Milan's Piazza Duomo, but health experts warn that masks are often ineffective and should be reserved for health care workers. (PA/Abaca/Sipa USA via AP Images)
Mar 2, 2020

This story was updated March 3, 10:20 a.m. EST.

With the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continuing to spread around the globe, the impact on the wine, restaurant and travel industries is growing. The organizers of one of the world's largest wine trade events, ProWein, postponed its annual trade fair in Düsseldorf until further notice. Parent company Messe Düsseldorf said it will coordinate with partners to come up with a new date for the show, which was set to host 6,900 exhibitors from 64 countries and 60,000 trade visitors March 15 to 17. On the morning of March 3, the organizers of Vinitaly in Verona announced that they too will postpone their trade show to June 13 to 17. Last year, Vinitaly hosted 4,600 exhibitors and almost 125,000 visitors from 145 countries.

"Vinitaly, together with OperaWine, will therefore take place in a context when the great occasions for the excellence of Made in Italy will have the task of refocusing the attention of international markets and the image of Italy," said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of organizer Veronafiere, in a statement.

On the other side of the globe, Vinexpo Hong Kong has announced that it will move its 2020 event to July 8 to 10, from the previous date of May 26 to 28, also in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Bordeaux-based Vinexpo said feedback from exhibitors was clear that the show should be pushed back, adding that "a significant portion of companies have confirmed their participation on the new dates." Vinexpo's New York show is proceeding as scheduled this week.


Check out all of Wine Spectator's ongoing coverage of COVID-19 and how it is impacting wine, dining and travel.


In Italy, airlines have been canceling flights to Milan's Malpensa airport and the Italian government is continuing to impose restrictions in the northern part of the country. In the provinces of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, all public events, cinema shows and theater performances are suspended until March 8. Restaurants must allow for 1 meter between all dining groups. Restaurateurs reported last week that business was down an estimated 80 percent. Hotels in Venice report similar cancellation rates.

As of today, Italy has 1,694 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest number outside Asia, and 34 people have died there. Germany has 150 confirmed cases and France 130. Those countries have also placed restrictions on public events.

—With reporting by Robert Camuto


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