Social distancing has become recognized as an effective tactic to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governments at every level are working to emphasize the practice, with the White House recommending this week against gatherings of 10 or more people, and city and state governments ordering the temporary closure of restaurants’ dine-in areas, bars, gyms and other gathering places, among other steps. Promotional products professionals are implementing it, too, with several events in the industry scheduled for the next several weeks announcing postponements and cancelations.

Cleveland, Ohio-headquartered distributor Proforma has announced that its Million Dollar Club event, scheduled for April 2-5 at the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been canceled. This will be the first time that Proforma has canceled a Million Dollar Club event in the 25-plus-year history of the event. Proforma anticipated more than 350 total attendees including 27 new members to its Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Clubs.

“We are disappointed and deeply saddened by the cancelation of our Million Dollar Club event in St. Petersburg, Florida,” says Proforma CEO Vera Muzzillo, CAS. “Due to the increasing health concerns and spread of COVID-19 to the general public, Proforma has taken the necessary precautions to keep our affiliate owners, support center team members and supplier partners safe from the growing pandemic.”

In addition, the distributor issued a work-from-home policy last Friday to all of Proforma’s worldwide support center team members in Florida and Ohio.

Regional associations across the promotional products industry are also moving to postpone or cancel events slated for March and April.

Sarah Merrill, Michigan Promotional Products Association (MiPPA) board president, says, “The leadership of MiPPA has been carefully monitoring the impact of the current COVID-19 worldwide pandemic and the impact in the state of Michigan. For the safety and well-being of our members and those at risk in our communities, we are supporting efforts to contain the spread through social distancing.”

MiPPA has canceled three events scheduled for March and the first half of April: Promotional Products 101 and Luncheon With The Stars, both planned on March 24 in Grand Rapids; and a Luncheon With The Stars event that had been slated for April 14 in Troy. Refunds will be issued for Promotional Products 101 or credits applied when it is rescheduled. MiPPA is also working to reschedule the Luncheon With The Stars.

The Arizona Promotional Products Association (AzPPA) has pulled the plug on a Top Golf Product Demo Day that it had scheduled for March 24 and hopes to reschedule the event in the coming months. While its screen print shop facility tour, slated for April 21, is currently still on, its planned family fun event on May 14 at a baseball game, may be delayed due to MLB’s current closure.

The board of directors of the Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) has made the decision to postpone the regional association’s March 25 show in Richmond and the March 26 show in Chesapeake. Announcements regarding rescheduling of these events will follow once dates and venues have been secured. The May 12 event in Roanoke has not been changed, and as of now, is expected to be held as planned.

The Tri-State Promotional Professionals Association (TSPPA) has canceled a SanMar factory tour scheduled for its distributor members on April 16. TSPPA’s golf outing on May 14 is still on schedule, but the regional association is monitoring updates from the Centers of Disease Control and the World Health Organization and will update members if its plans change.

The New England Promotional Products Association’s (NEPPA) axe-throwing member event at Axe Bar in Lincoln, Rhode Island, has been postponed, as has its Season Opener Expo, which was to be held April 7 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Members will be informed as updated information becomes available.

The Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association (PAPPA) has postponed its April 14 South Jersey Client Show and its April 15 Lancaster Client Show. The Three Rivers Advertising Specialty Association has canceled its April 16 Altoona Client Expo.

The Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) has canceled its April 21 Spring Showcase event, which was to be held in Melville, New York.

The Carolinas Association of Advertising and Marketing Professionals (CAAMP) has postponed its April 29-30 Carolinas Connection Show, which was to be held in Concord, North Carolina. The regional association is currently targeting the month of August for the rescheduled event, but no date is currently set.

Promotional Products Professionals of Canada (PPPC) has also reported several industry events in Canada being canceled, including today’s Groupe Multi-Sources and Groupe Expo 10+ tabletop show in Quebec City; the PME Shows are canceled and the team is looking at postponing until the fall; the PICS SHOWS in Kingston and Ottawa, which have been postponed and the Promotional Products Showcase (PPS) shows in Burlington, Kitchener and London, which have been canceled and will likely be rescheduled in the fall. The PPPC has postponed its April 21 supplier panel and Q&A session, which was to be held in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The association hopes to reschedule the panel for a later date and will provide members with an update when available.

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