The Baselworld watch and jewelry fair, scheduled for April 30 – May 5, has been postponed until January, the MCH Group, which owns and operates the fair, said in a statement Friday.
Visitors enter Baselworld
The announcement followed an extraordinary meeting of the Federal Council of Switzerland held Friday, in which the governing body banned events of more than 1,000 people in Switzerland. The ban is immediate and will last until at least March 15. This is in direct response to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
“For health safety reasons and in accordance with the precautionary principle following the bans of large-scale public and private events issued today by the Swiss federal and cantonal authorities, Baselworld announces that it has taken the decision to postpone the show to Thursday 28th January 2021 to Tuesday 2nd February 2021 (Press Day on Wednesday 27th January), due to concerns related to Covid-19,” Baselworld officials said in its statement.
“Baselworld … has taken this difficult decision in close consultation with its partners and the health authorities in charge, in whom Baselworld has full confidence for their expertise and recommendations for the benefit of exhibitors, visitors and collaborators,” the statement continued. “Following today’s official ban on large public gatherings which meant direct repercussions for the show, Baselworld had no other option than to make a decision as all preparations, in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands was scheduled to commence next week (start March).”
This action by the Swiss governing body caused the immediate cancelation of the Geneva International Motor Show, scheduled for March 5 – 15. Watches & Wonders, the other important Swiss watch fair, announced its cancellation Thursday. It was scheduled for April 25 – 29. The Movado watch group also canceled its summit in with distributors and retailers, which was scheduled for April in Davos. The Swatch Group had previously canceled its watch summit in Zurich, scheduled for March 4 – 6.
“We deeply regret having had to postpone the event as planned due to the coronavirus, in full consideration of the needs of the watch and jewelry industry to be able to benefit from the platform to develop their business,” said Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director of Baselworld. “This decision has been all the more difficult in view of all the positives that have been achieved through listening and dialogue over the last few months, which resulted in new concepts and new solutions, that have attracted exhibitors to return and new ones to sign on. We registered encouraging growth in all sectors; watchmaking, jewelry, the gemstone and pearl trade, as well as in the technical branch.”
Adds Bernd Stadlwieser, group CEO of MCH adds: “Within the process of the last weeks, I was very impressed by the involvement and trust of all our customers, partners, stakeholders and team, to pro-actively find the very best solution in the interests of the industries. By communicating intensively all together, we were able to work on different scenarios and to jointly decide on the very best one. I would like to thank everybody for their belief in and commitment to our platform.”
The Swiss Federal Council is the seven-member executive council that constitutes the federal government of the Swiss Confederation and serves as the collective head of state and of the government of Switzerland. The statement from the governing body concerning its decision on Friday reads as follows:
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 categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act. Large-scale events involving more than 1000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March.
The Federal Council’s top priority is to protect the population. It is responding to the latest developments in the coronavirus epidemic and has categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act. This enables the Federal Council, in consultation with the cantons, to order measures that are normally the responsibility of the cantons.
The Federal Council is banning public and private events in Switzerland at which more than 1000 people would gather. This ban on events comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March. The cantons are responsible for enforcing the ban.
In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1000 people would gather, event organisers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held.
The Federal Council is aware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life in Switzerland. However, the move is expected to provide effective protection to people in Switzerland and to public health. It should prevent or delay the spread of the disease in Switzerland, thus reducing its momentum.