An extraordinary meeting this morning of Switzerland’s Federal Council to discuss measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus has agreed to a ban on large-scale events involving more than 1000 people.
The ban comes into effect immediately and will apply at least until March 15 with the option to extend.
The Geneva Motor Show announced today it is cancelled on the back of the directive.
With Watches & Wonders Geneva, which was due to take place from April 25 to 29 already cancelled, the chances of Baselworld proceeding from April 30 to May 5, appear remote.
WatchPro sources have said an announcement on a decision is imminent, most likely on Monday. The show’s biggest remaining exhibiting brands have been in discussions with the organizer all this week to discuss how to make the announcement and set the stage for a successful comeback in 2021.
When Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was cancelled because of the Coronavirus situation, it was reported that the organizer needed specific health advice from authorities to trigger payouts by insurance companies for the owner and exhibitors. That could also be the case with Baselworld and its owner MCH Group, which up until today has insisted the event is going ahead as planned.
Switzerland’s Federal Council says its top priority is to protect the population and in the current circumstance is able to order measures like the ban on large events that would normally be taken at the level of the country’s cantons.
“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,” a statement from the council says.