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High Point Pre-Market canceled, Market postponed over coronavirus concerns

The invitation-only High Point Pre-Market was scheduled for March 16-17.

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Editor's note: The video in this story is from  March 8, before the cancellation announcement.

The High Point Pre-Market was canceled and the market was moved to June. the High Point Market Authority confirmed the move Thursday shortly after Gov. Roy Cooper urged the postponement of gatherings with 100 or more people.

The invitation-only High Point Pre-Market was scheduled for March 16-17. The much larger High Point Market that was planned for April 25-29 will be held in early June, "should conditions improve," the authority said in a news release.

“The decision was difficult, as any change in date could have tremendous economic repercussions on our industry and community, as well as the countless small businesses whose livelihoods relies on High Point Market, but underscores our shared concern and well-being of the citizens in our community and our industry partners,” said Dudley Moore, Jr., chairman of the High Point Market Authority’s board of directors and president of Otto & Moore.

Doug Bassett, Chairman of the High Point Pre-Market Sponsor Committee, told us Governor Roy Cooper's 4 p.m. news conference on Wednesday was a tipping point for organizers.

He said that coupled with the multiple suspensions of sport league seasons and major entertainment events left Pre-Market officials with no choice. He says it was only fair to dealers, representatives and everyone involved.

High Point Pre-Market was expecting 17 event sponsors to open their doors, along with 82 non-sponsors, one of the largest numbers in recent years.

Organizers said the event is officially canceled, but many exhibitors may still have their showrooms open.

Bassett also said the number of registered furniture dealers was about 10 percent higher this year compared to previous years, where between 100 and 110 insiders registered. 

According to a public update on Feb. 28, the High Point Market will have a medical unit equipped to screen guests and an ambulance on standby to isolate any suspected infected people. Housekeeping and food service workers will follow "more stringent" procedures including frequent handwashing, crews will wipe down touched surfaces more often, and more hand sanitizer stations will be installed around the market buildings.

Tom Conley, High Point Market Authority's president and CEO, confirmed that no people in the industry from China have registered to attend the High Point Market in late April, according to the Architectural Digest article.

High Point Market has been a staple of the North Carolina economy since 1909. The event has only been canceled once in 1942 due to World War II.

A 2018 Duke University study found the annual economic impact of High Point Market to be $6.73 billion, making it the largest economic event in North Carolina. With 12 million square feet of show space, High Point Market is the largest home furnishings trade show in the world, the release said.

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