ConExpo and COVID-19: The show will go on

By D.Ann Shiffler and Hannah Sundermeyer04 March 2020

Safety is a mainstay of the crane, rigging and specialized transportation industry, which is why concerns about the COVID-19 Coronavirus and the ConExpo tradeshow in Las Vegas are being addressed at the highest levels and with the most aggressive protection measures.

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AEM is encouraging a no handshake policy at ConExpo 2020.

“We understand concerns about COVID-19 Coronavirus are top of mind, and we want to be as transparent as possible and share information about what we are doing to prepare for the shows in Las Vegas,” said ConExpo organizer Association of Equipment Manufacturers, (AEM). “Our top priority is focused on the health and safety of all participants at CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE 2020, including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, staff, industry partners and others involved in the show. We are proceeding as planned to hold a safe and successful CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE in Las Vegas, March 10-14.”

AEM has been in contact with the Southern Nevada Health District, and as of March 2, there are no known cases of COVID-19 are in the area. 

On the attendee side, AEM said China-based registrants have cancelled due to the travel restrictions. More recently there have been cancellations of registrants from Italy and Korea.

“We anticipate some additional impact from international registrants in the affected countries,” AEM said.

However, advance registration is well ahead of the 2017 show and AEM anticipate 130,000-plus attendees. AEM said there have been no major exhibit cancellations.

“Most of our top exhibitors have been onsite for weeks moving in equipment and setting up their booth space. These exhibitors have been following the move-in schedule protocols and we anticipate all exhibitors will be moved in and ready for the shows’ opening day on Tuesday, March 10,” AEM said.

*Cancellations are no longer limited to companies from China.*

AEM (Friday, March 6, 4:49 p.m.)

“With all the news about COVID-19 and the speculation regarding CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE, I want to provide an update on planning, including commitments and cancellations. Here is where we stand,” said Dennis Slater, president, AEM.

  • Travel restrictions related to international travel and corporate policies have impacted some companies that planned to exhibit at the show.
  • The CONEXPO-CON/AGG cancellations that we’ve received represent 44,950 square feet out of 2.7 million net square feet of exhibit space, which represents about 1.7 percent of the total space. We’ve re-sold 15,000 square feet of this cancelled space.

— Friday, March 6 — 

”Since announcing our decision to withdraw from Conexpo-Con/Agg 2020 due to the coronavirus, Volvo CE has been working very closely with our partners at AEM to determine the best path forward. At this point in preparations it would not be possible for Volvo CE to remove the equipment and dismantle the booth before the show begins. Instead, a small number of locally hired independent staff will remain on the site for the duration of the show. The booth will be ready for show opening on Tuesday March, 10th.”

Parker Hannifin has made a difficult, but thoughtfully considered decision, to not participate as an exhibitor or as attendees at IFPE/CONEXPO 2020. The company made the following statement:  ”With the coronavirus COVID-19 continuing to spread, and with more than 200 Parker team members attending globally, they believe it is prudent for them not to travel. Parker’s priority is to protect the health and safety of its team members and the communities where they live and work.”

According to a release from Volvo, other major brands and the rumors of the major brands, Magna Tyres decided not to attend ConExpo 2020.

Enerpac has made the difficult decision to forgo exhibiting or attending IFPE/CONEXPO 2020 scheduled for March 10-14 in Las Vegas. ”Given the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are placing priority on the health of our team members, our customers and the public. Safety is an Enerpac core value, therefore, we believe in taking the careful step of not travelling to and participating in this year’s event. We look forward to participating in IFPE/CONEXPO 2023.”

Dana Incorporated announced today that the company and its staff will not participate in the CONEXPO-CON/AGG tradeshow. The company made the following statement: “The safety of our employees, customers, suppliers, and the public is our highest priority, which is why after careful consideration, and out of an abundance of caution, we made the difficult decision to withdraw our participation from the CONEXPO exhibition in Las Vegas. The situation surrounding the novel COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve and we believe it is important to, where possible, reduce the risk of exposure for our team. We have made this decision as a precautionary measure but remain committed to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG tradeshow and look forward to the next edition in 2023.”

— Thursday, March 5 — 

All business areas within the Volvo Group have jointly decided to not attend Conexpo-Con/Agg 2020 due to the outbreak and continuing concerns relating to the Coronavirus Covid-19.

“With California joining Washington State and Florida in declaring a state of emergency to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus Covid-19, all business areas within the Volvo Group have decided to withdraw from their participations in next week’s ConExpo exhibition in Las Vegas, Nev. This includes all relevant Volvo business areas, Volvo Construction Equipment, Volvo Penta, Volvo Financial Services, Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, SDLG and Terex Trucks.

“We are great supporters of ConExpo, and despite being in advanced preparations for this year’s event, we believe it is the right thing to do to withdraw at this late stage,” said said Melker Jernberg, executive VP & president of Volvo CE. ”Our first concern is the wellbeing of employees, customers and the wider public. It’s very disappointing not to be attending, but our first priority is the health and safety of our employees and others. Given this, it is with reluctance that it has been decided not to participate in this year’s show.”

American Cranes & Transport checked in with several of the major crane OEMs. Following are their statements:

  • Tadano, Ingo Schiller: “Tadano is moving forward with our plans to bring our customers a successful CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. Safety, is our core value and always a top priority. We are actively monitoring the WHO and CDC to determine the most responsible course of action, following their recommendations and best practices that include a no handshake policy for the show, a cleaning crew to wipe down surfaces during show hours, and hand sanitizing stations around the booth area. Tadano looks forward to having a safe and successful CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020.”
  • Wolffkran, Todd Yager: “We only have four people from our global team attending ConExpo, and they still are coming. All but one of my U.S. team members will be at the show as well. This remains unchanged. We will be following all recommendations that the CDC has put out for the general public.”
  • Manitex International, Michael Toudjarov: “Manitex International will be represented at the show and we are looking forward to showing off our products. Everything should be as planned, and we don’t anticipate any declines in participation.”
  • Comansa, Bill Carbeau: “We will have our usual staff from Spain and the U.S. in attendance. However, we plan to knuckle bump instead of shaking hands and will have plenty of hand sanitizer around.”

AEM also announced the measures they are taking in regard to COVID-19.

“Ultimately, we encourage everyone to make responsible decisions and stay home if they are sick,” said AEM. “Our Show Management has dedicated resources to provide quick responses to inquiries related to COVID-19.”

Attendees and exhibitors with questions or concerns are encouraged to email the AEM response team at

  • AEM is closely monitoring the news and will follow any protocols that are provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We encourage exhibitors and attendees to take common-sense precautions by using hand sanitizer and following these guidelines set by the CDC when they are onsite at the show.
  • We are working closely with all show partners including the Las Vegas Convention Center, the airport authority and hotels to ensure the safety of all show participants.
  • We are taking steps to address concerns by providing heightened levels of cleanliness, including working with the LVCC to ensure additional hand sanitizers will be provided throughout the shows, including Festival Grounds and Westgate; providing hand sanitizers in all registration areas, media rooms, information stands, the international trade center, meeting/education spaces, workforce and VIP areas, including several areas on the show grounds; providing additional hand sanitizers and cleaning protocols in all monorail stations; adding staff to increase cleaning of all common areas using strong disinfectant to clean those areas used more frequently, especially tables, keyboards/screens, door handles, etc.; working with Centerplate concessions to ensure following of all protocols followed by the health department.
  • AEM is encouraging a “no handshake” policy onsite and we are providing buttons and stickers to attendees and exhibitors. Some exhibitors are choosing to print their own for staff and customers.
  • Some of our international exhibitors and attendees have been impacted by COVID-19 due to the travel restrictions, and the spread of the virus in China, Italy, South Korea. For the safety of everyone we are working to accommodate registration cancellations for individuals impacted by the travel ban. Due to the travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19, many China-based exhibitors and attendees will not be able to participate. China-based companies with North American-based operations and staff (not impacted by the travel restrictions), will exhibit at CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE as planned. Overall, the expected cancellations of China-based exhibitors and attendees will have a very limited impact on the shows, representing less than two percent of the almost 2.7 million net square feet of exhibit space and one percent of registrations. These newly available spaces will be offered to the companies on the waiting list.


Concerns about the COVID-19 Coronavirus and the ConExpo tradeshow are being addressed at the highest levels and with the most aggressive protection measures. 

© Robert Dimmitt, 2020 

Frequently asked questions of the show planners include:

What happens if someone presents flu-like symptoms at the shows?

Our first aid professional service provider will be readily available to provide medical assistance onsite to any individuals that needs medical assistance. We have five first aid stations onsite at the shows. Our first aid professional service provider has ensured us they would be able to treat a mass breakout of the virus, working closely with the fire department and local hospitals. At this time, any testing for COVID-19 would be managed by local hospitals and/or the CDC.

How many registrants are from international countries?

Approximately 92 percent of registrants are from North America; 8 percent are from international counties outside of North America. Some 2.5 percent of the 8 percent were registered from Asia and many of them have cancelled.

Will you refund my registration fee if I choose to not attend the shows?

Our attendee show rules and regulations state that we do not offer refunds for badge fees due to cancellations. However, due to the unique issue of the Coronavirus and the travel restrictions, Show Management and the CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE Management Committees will review this as a potential exception to our show rules and regulations due to the travel restrictions. We will inform you of the final decision after the show. To make an official request for a refund, please email

What are you doing to prevent those from high-risk areas from attending the shows?

The initial travel ban from China has restricted China-based individuals from attending the shows. In addition, the ongoing quarantines from other countries, including Italy, Japan, Korea, have also restricted some individuals from attending the shows. We are communicating to individuals from these countries that we will consider badge refunds to those impacted by the travel ban. Per our show rules and regulations, we normally do not offer refunds, but due to the unique situation of COVID-19, we will consider badge refunds to encourage those from high-risk areas to not travel to Las Vegas. All requests for refunds will be considered by the CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE Management Committees. The Committees’ recommendations are subject to review by the show owners. To make an official request for a refund, please email

We are encouraging everyone to make responsible decisions to stay home if they are sick and to not travel if they are traveling from high-risk areas. We are working with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority the Southern Nevada Health District and the CDC as they manage visitors to the area. Several exhibitors have informed us that they have made the decision to not allow their staff from high-risk areas to attend the shows.

We have been in contact with McCarran Airport and they have informed us that no flights from China are allowed to land at McCarren and they are following protocols set by Trump administration.

AEM said, “Please know we are committed to hosting safe and successful shows. Our top priority is focused on the health and safety of all participants at CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE 2020, including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, staff, industry partners and others involved in the shows.”


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