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Licensing Trade Shows: Toy Fair NY Cancelled Due to Omicron Surge

The Toy Association says rising COVID numbers have forced the “heartbreaking” cancellation of next month’s Toy Fair in New York.

Toy Fair New York 2022 was scheduled for Feb. 19-22 at The Javits Center. Now, Toy Association president and CEO Steve Pasierb says the association needed to “make the best decision in everyone’s interest.”

“Key to our efforts these past two weeks has been the balance of some 700 remaining committed toy manufacturers saying they need and want Toy Fair 2022 to build their businesses, weighing that against those departing and seriously on the fence, and needing to provide a sufficient quantity and quality across the retail buying community necessary to deliver a positive experience,” said Pasierb.

“As that balance has shifted, we are obligated to make the best decision in everyone’s interest no matter how heartbreaking for so many and potentially damaging some business’ future prospects. The wide range of other events that occur across New York City during Toy Fair week are now also impacted.”

The cancellation comes as many businesses are reporting widespread staff shortages due to COVID-19 infections, most of them related to the more transmissible Omicron variant. The cancellation appears to be a combination of trying to keep industry workers safe, and a reluctance by many companies and individuals to attend a trade show during a COVID surge.

“Certainly, there are legitimate concerns around the pandemic that has guided thinking,” said Pasierb. “Many are saying they are very comfortable with being at the Javits Center and at the show given strict health and safety protocols in place, while travel concerns and for some, staff absences due to illness at home, rightfully weigh on their minds.”

The decision comes as the rolling seven-day average of COVID-19 cases rose to more than 40,000 per day. However, the real number of cases is likely much higher, as the latest surge has overwhelmed testing capacity.

The Toy Association said it will now be reaching out to exhibitors who have already booked space at the show, and also focusing on organizing the Toy Fair for next year.

“Delivering a best in class next Toy Fair for all the varied audiences it serves so well is now our focus,” said Pasierb. “We will be working with all exhibitors on next steps to unwind February 2022 and build a solid base for visitors from across the world to again experience Toy Fair.”

Ironically, the British Toy and Hobby Association confirmed this week that their Toy Fair 2022 held in London will be going ahead as planned beginning on Jan. 25. See link below for the full story.

Toy Fair Going Ahead Despite Omicron Outbreak In UK