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Chicago Conventions Affected By Coronavirus Concerns

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Growing concerns about the cononavirus in the United States.

In California, 8,400 people in California are now being monitored. Facebook has canceled its annual conference there in May.

With two big conventions set to take over at McCormick Place in the coming weeks, CBS 2's Vince Gerasole looks at precautions being put in place in Chicago.

McCormick Place is one of the busiest convention centers in the country, In six months alone, it will pump $180 million dollars into the local economy.

As this year's C2E2 comic convention comes together, cosplayers may be changing more than their costumes.

There's a lot of fist bumps instead of handshakes this year," said Kristina Rogers, C2E2's Event Director. It draws upwards of 50,000 people. Already on the C2E2 website, a detailed description of coronavirus precautions.

"We have Purell wipes everywhere. All of our info booths are stocked with disinfectants," Rogers said. "It's just being a little mindful for everyone."

Similar numbers will attend the Inspired Home Show in two weeks, where global retailers purchase tens of thousands of products. Head to the show's website and it too has coronavirus information as well as an announcement that several Chinese exhibitors won;t be participating.

"We knew we would be getting questions and sure enough on a daily basis, we are fielding questions," said Leana Salamah of the Inspired Home Show.

Organizers said working with McCormick Place, 125 hand sanitizing stations have been installed on the show floor. Stricter cleaning methods have been reviewed with staff. McCormick Place is also increasing the number of emergency medical technicians on site.

Though the show goes on, they are expecting a drop in crowds.

"We are seeing some reluctance to travel from overseas," Salamah said. "So we expect an impact on our international attendance."

In Milan, the epicenter of the Italian outbreak, the convention industry has been forced to take much stricter measures; a loss of $1.6 million.

"The individual shows decided to postpone the events," said Milan journalist Ida Barone.

Back at McCormick Place, where the threat is highly unlikely, some proactive convention organizers don't want coronavirus to go unaddressed.

"It's important the community knows we are being diligent," Rogers noted.


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