The reality that COVID-19 will likely still be a part of our lives in the fall has begun to sink in. In anticipation, the High Point Market Authority has announced an expanded schedule for its Fall Market as a way to minimize crowding in showrooms and allow for social distancing. The event will now take place over nine days (October 13 to 21), and attendees are asked to pick a three-day period within those dates to attend.
“We anticipate less-restrictive guidelines for large gatherings this fall, but the need for increased safety measures will still exist,” Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, said in a statement. “Although we have over 11 million square feet spread over 13 city blocks, likely allowing us to have upwards of 50,000 attendees on any given day, we want to be overly cautious and stay below that maximum each day so all guests feel safe and comfortable attending and visiting their favorite showrooms.”
The announcement comes after a turbulent few months for the HPMA, with its Spring Market postponed until June before ultimately being canceled—for only the second time in the event’s 111-year history. At the time of the cancellation last month, Conley told BOH that he predicted the return of large gatherings would come at the tail end of reopenings across the country, but was hopeful that people would feel comfortable traveling again by fall.
HPMA has divided domestic buyers and industry members into two regions based on the home state of their company headquarters, a model developed in partnership with the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association in an effort to reflect typical regional territories. Those in Region A (AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY) are permitted to register for either Period I (October 13–15) or Period II (October 16–18), while those in Region B (the remaining states) are permitted to register for either Period II or Period III (October 19–21); international buyers may select dates in any period.
HPMA is encouraging exhibitors to enforce a “no early entry” policy and to hold product commitments until the close of Market, after all regions have had a chance to attend and view product.
In addition to placing a priority on social distancing, increased safety measures like a more robust cleaning schedule will be in effect. Conley expects that their response to the pandemic will continue to be updated as new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evolve over the coming months.
“The safety and well-being of our stakeholders, industry members, and state and local citizens remain paramount,” he said.
Homepage photo courtesy of High Point Market Authority