The annual Citrus Expo/Vegetable & Specialty Crop Expo will be held as scheduled Aug. 12–13 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers, Florida. A decision on holding the event was delayed due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. Robin Loftin, president of the Expo host AgNet Media, assures that numerous safety measures will be implemented to keep attendees as safe as possible.
“The decision to hold Expo was a very difficult one in light of COVID-19,” said Loftin. “The health and safety of everyone attending is and always will be our top priority. We analyzed much data and solicited input from many growers, vendors and others before deciding to move forward. Most encouraged us to hold Expo.”
While event planning is moving forward, Loftin notes that if the COVID-19 situation takes a major turn for the worse and re-opening efforts in Florida are halted, Expo would need to be cancelled. However, she is hopeful the show can be held and looks forward to providing a venue to bring industry members together again.
Expo Manager Josh McGill said the event provides continuing education units to citrus, vegetable and specialty crop industries. “The educational seminars presented at Expo by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are extremely important to growers in those industries,” McGill said. “Growers also look forward to the opportunity to see many vendors in one place and to have fellowship with others in the industry.”
The safety measures implemented because of COVID-19 will be evident throughout the Expo event. Attendees will be encouraged to wear protective masks, but they will not be required to do so. Masks will be available for all attendees at no charge, and hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the Lee Civic Center. Steps to ensure social distancing, which has proven to curtail spread of COVID-19, will be implemented throughout the Expo venue, including in the seminar hall, the trade show and at lunch.
“We will comply with all COVID-19 requirements and recommendations from all health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” McGill said.
Everyone who attends Expo will be required to sign a waiver exempting AgNet Media from liability connected with COVID-19. This has become a standard practice during the pandemic.
Pre-registration for Expo is strongly encouraged, by clicking here. Those pre-registering must acknowledge that they have read and understand the COVID-19 liability waiver. Steps are being taken to ensure that all who pre-register will pass easily into Expo, making registration safer for everyone.
Loftin urges those who attend Expo to thank the exhibitors and sponsors for supporting the citrus, vegetable and specialty crop industries. “Please visit the vendors in the trade show and thank them for making Expo possible,” she said. “We thank everyone in advance for understanding the necessity for taking steps at Expo that will keep us all as safe as possible.”