In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the High Point Market Authority is expanding the Fall Market dates in an effort to spread out attendance and account for expected reduced capacity requirements for showrooms and buildings. Fall Market will now take place over nine days from Oct. 13-21, 2020.
In an effort to control the flow of attendees, buyers and industry members will be asked to select one of three, 3-day periods during the 9-day Market as their primary attendance dates during the online registration process. Domestic buyers and industry members have been divided into two regions based on the home state of their company headquarters. The regions breakdown was developed in partnership with the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA) to be sensitive to sales reps and typical regional territories. Those in Region A will be permitted to register for either Period I or II. Those in Region B will be permitted to register for either Period II or III.
The states breakdown for each region and the dates included in each period are outlined on the High Point Market website on the COVID-19 Updates page, www.highpointmarket.org/covid-19-updates. International buyers and media will be allowed to select from any of the three periods. Students passes will only be available during Period III. For all attendees, showroom appointments will be highly encouraged.
“We anticipate less restrictive guidelines for large gatherings this fall, but the need for increased safety measures will still exist. Although we have over 11 million square feet spread over 13 city blocks, likely allowing us to have upwards of 50,000 attendees on any given day, we want to be overly cautious and stay below that maximum each day so all guests feel safe and comfortable attending and visiting their favorite showrooms,” said Tom Conley, president/CEO of the High Point Market Authority.
Additional health and safety measures will also be in effect, such as increased sanitation and cleaning efforts, social-distancing requirements and enhanced medical services in an effort to create a safe and welcoming environment. Further details will be shared as plans develop.
“The safety and well-being of our stakeholders, industry members and state and local citizens remain paramount,” said Conley. “Our robust safety and security measures are being expanded to specifically address COVID-19, per guidelines shared by the CDC and local medical authorities. We remain in contact with our state and local health officials, and we will continue to engage with them over these next few months, updating our response plan as needed.”
To maintain fairness and ensure attendees adhere to the attendance periods, the Market Authority is working with buildings to enforce a “no early entry” policy, wherein buyers are not permitted to access the buildings nor showrooms prior to the opening day of Market on Oct. 13. The Market Authority is also working with exhibitors, encouraging them to hold all product commitments until the close of Market after all regions have had a chance to attend and view product.
“The Market Authority staff and board of directors developed and reviewed several alternatives for Fall Market that were adaptive enough to accommodate enhanced safety precautions while still meeting the needs of our industry, state and local community,” said Dudley Moore Jr., chairman of the High Point Market Authority’s board of directors and president of Otto & Moore. “This expanded and staggered plan was unanimously accepted by our board as the premier preference, given its ability to provide buyers with attendance flexibility while keeping safety as the top priority through a controlled flow.”
“High Point Market has been a staple in this community for well over a century now, and the impact of the spring cancellation was far-reaching for both our citizens and our local businesses. We welcome the return of this economic driver this fall, recognizing the boost will be much needed for business owners, while also keeping safety top of mind. We are already working closely with the Market Authority team as well as the proper medical authorities to ensure the safety of our citizens as well as the Market guests who will be visiting our great city this October,” said City of High Point Mayor Jay Wagner.
Registration for Fall Market will open in mid-July at www.highpointmarket.org, at which time registrants will be able to select their primary attendance dates from the outlined periods. Pre- registration will be highly encouraged, although some modified on-site registration will likely be available.