The heralded return of the New York International Auto Show scheduled for later this month has been canceled due to concerns about COVID-19 and the spreading delta variant, according to the show’s organizer.
In a statement, the show's organizers at the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association noted that in the past days and weeks, "circumstances have changed making it more difficult to create an event at the high standard that we and our clients expect." They cited the "growing incidences of the COVID-19 Delta variant" and the "increased measures announced recently by state and local officials to stop its spread."
The show, which would have been a $300 million economic boost to the New York region and the auto industry, had been canceled last year due to COVID-19 as well. Organizers say they hope to bring the event, which draws more than a million visitors, back next spring.
The cancellation marks a sharp turn from announcements as recently as last week, when the show for this year was recast under "The Future Is Bright" banner. The convention was scheduled for Aug. 20-29.
In a joint announcement with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this year, the show had been relaunched and scheduled to operate as the 2021 "Reimagined New York International Auto Show," with a return to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. It had planned to dedicate an entire floor to new electric vehicles, according to the announcement.
This year’s show had been scheduled with new COVID-19 protections. But recent increases in COVID-19 numbers statewide, and concerns about variants and slowing vaccinations, have heightened wariness about large indoor public events.
"At the onset of planning for the August show, we were increasingly excited at the prospect of hosting the event as the number of vaccinations in New York continued to climb and mask-wearing reduced the spread in the city," the organizers said. "All signs were positive, and the Show was coming together stronger than ever, but today is a different story."
The show typically occupies more than a million square feet of space at the Javits Center, and can accommodate more than 1,000 vehicles on display. In addition to the floor devoted to electric vehicles, this year's show also was to feature five indoor track tests.
The show, launched in 1900, now generates more than $300 million for the local economy, according to the show’s organizers, and nearly three-quarters of attendees identify themselves as intending to buy a vehicle in the next year.