Anaheim sign
Photo by John Schreiber.

Anaheim officials will soon discuss a new date for the Natural Products Expo West, usually the second biggest gathering in the city each year, after organizers decided to postpone it because of concerns over the novel coronavirus — also known as COVID-19.

The convention features organic food industry representatives from throughout the country and usually draws the second most visitors annually, Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said.

“There’s no concern about visiting Anaheim or daily life here — we have zero known cases here and generally there is a low risk here so we are going about our daily lives here in Anaheim,” Lyster said.

“The situation with Natural Products was more a decision they had to make about the show,” Lyster said.

Many of the participants who represented large national companies had decided to limit travel among their employees, Lyster said. “That meant a lot of them decided not to make the trip out here.”

On Monday, organizers were discussing moving forward with a scaled-down show anyway, but ultimately they decided to postpone it until later this year, Lyster said.

“We are looking forward to potential dates in the next couple of months,” Lyster said. “Hopefully by then concerns will have subsided a bit about people traveling anywhere.”

Natural Products Expos officials released a statement saying the show was in progress “when the views of the community started to diverge. Some of our partners strongly advocated continuing with the show as planned. Some of our partners wanted the show, but not now, and some just wanted a straight-forward cancellation.”

Convention organizers are aiming to make an announcement on a new show date by mid-April.

“It is our intention to deliver a Natural Products Expo West event before the summer to serve the community, either in Anaheim or a suitable alternative location,” according to the statement from the show’s organizers.

Lyster emphasized that the city is “more than capable of handling anything” because it has so much experience handling large gatherings related to major tourism destinations such as Disneyland, the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks.

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