The North American International Auto Show’s host facility will become a field hospital for COVID-19 patients.
Organizers have canceled the North American International Auto Show scheduled for this June in Detroit, as the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall) becomes a Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary field hospital in the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Dates have been scheduled for the next Detroit show in June 2021.
“Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety, and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan,” NAIAS executive director Rod Alberts said in a release. “And we will do what we can to support our community’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak.” Michigan, especially the Detroit Metro area, has become a major hotspot in the outbreak alongside New York City and the state of Washington. “With more than 100 convention centers and facilities around the country being considered to potentially serve as temporary hospitals, it became clear to us that the TCF Center would be an inevitable option to serve as a care facility to satisfy our community’s urgent health needs.”
The New York International Auto Show, which was to be held in April, was canceled earlier this month and its venue, the Jacob Javits Center, is also being converted into a FEMA temporary field hospital. February’s Chicago auto show was the last major show to be held, while the last major international event was the Tokyo Motor Show last November. The Geneva auto show scheduled for earlier this month was also canceled.
The next annual NAIAS will be held in June 2021. This year was to be the first the Detroit show would be held in potentially warm weather, in late spring. The last NAIAS was in January 2019.
Show officials are discussing plans for a special fundraiser event later this year to benefit the children’s charities affected by the cancellation, said NAIAS Chairman Doug North. Such charities have been beneficiaries of the show’s black-tie preview event, known colloquially in Detroit as “Auto Prom.” The annual event has more than 200 sponsors, mostly from the auto industry, and they’re being offered the choice of a full refund or the option of donating their sponsorship funds to the children’s charities. All other ticket holders, including for public and industry preview days, will be given full refunds.