(CHICAGO – March 4, 2022) — On Saturday, March 5, McCormick Place welcomes back The Inspired Home Show, which was the first show to cancel at McCormick Place in March 2020 due to COVID-19. The show, which attracted 60,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibitors with an economic impact of $77 million prior to the pandemic, returns to Chicago for the first time since 2019. The show, which runs through Mon., March 7, is expected to be the largest trade show held at McCormick Place in two years. McCormick Place is managed by ASM Global, the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences, venue management and event strategy.
“The entire staff at McCormick is excited to welcome back The Inspired Home Show, a flagship event that is typically held annually at our venue,” said McCormick Place General Manager David Causton, who has managed the building since 2004. “We have worked closely with International Housewares Association to ensure that their group can meet safely.”
As North America’s largest convention center, the entire McCormick Place campus holds the Global Biorisk Advisory Council GBAC STAR accreditation, the gold standard for clean and safe facilities. By maintaining this gold standard of health and safety protocols, planners and attendees feel confident about choosing and returning to Chicago as meetings and conventions return to live.
McCormick Place is part of ASM Global’s network of more than 350 venues around the world, which host 20,000 events and welcome 165 million guests every year. Other flagship exhibition and convention centers in its portfolio include Moscone Center in San Francisco; ICC Sydney in Australia; Shenzhen World in China; and P&J Live in Aberdeen, U.K.
The Inspired Home is the first trade show to stage in Chicago since the mask mandates were lifted on Monday, Feb. 28, across Illinois, including in Chicago, marking the end of a monthlong requirement for many indoor public spaces. Despite the policy changes, the International Housewares Association (IHA) will require masks to be worn throughout all common areas, including while walking in the aisles, when visiting displays, while watching presentations, and when visiting registration and information counters.
“After two years without a major home + housewares industry trade show, both retailers and suppliers are craving in-person product discovery and interaction,” said Derek Miller, IHA president and CEO. “To ensure success and meet the expectations of our attendees, IHA has worked with Epistemix, a firm of epidemiologists and computational modeling experts, to help us develop policies and protocols to protect our guests and staff.”
In addition to masking requirements, all exhibitors and attendees will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test or proof of natural immunity. This includes exhibitors and personnel related to set-up and tear-down of the event. The review of proof of vaccination and negative tests will be facilitated by Cleared4, a third-party company hired by IHA. All attendees are required to demonstrate either proof of vaccination or the results of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test administered in the prior 72 hours.
With these precautions in place, the risk of COVID transmission will be at a rate of less than 0.1% of total attendance during The Inspired Home Show, according to updated data released by Epistemix, a computational modeling software company that develops simulations to model the spread of diseases and inform policy. This projection places The Inspired Home Show below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) threshold for safe travel and gathering.
“Creating a controlled environment is crucial for conferences like The Inspired Home Show,” says Dr. Lindsey Reiser, managing director of professional services at Epistemix. “The robust program of safety measures that Chicago requires, along with what McCormick Place and IHA will have in place, means a reduction in transmissibility by 4 times compared to other typical activities in Chicago public spaces.”
- McCormick Place’s GBAC certification, use of hospital-grade sanitation, and increased airflow filtration and circulation ensure a controlled environment that provides a high level of protection from COVID-19.
- The Inspired Home Show masking, testing and vaccination protocols provide a low risk of transmissibility among attendees of the event.
- With the combined efforts of McCormick Place and IHA, Epistemix projects the risk of infection at The Inspired Home Show to be less than 0.1% of all attendees, placing the event below the CDC threshold for safe travel and gathering.
- Epistemix data has proven to be 95% accurate when forecasting for past events.
Q1 2022 at McCormick Place
In 2022, McCormick Place has hosted six trade and consumer events, including the American Baseball Coaches Association National Convention, the Winter Volleyball Championship, the Chicago National Regional, the Chicago Auto Show and the Chicago Dental Society’s Annual Midwinter Meeting.
“Our first trade show of 2022, the Chicago Dental Society’s Annual Midwinter Meeting, drew just over 16,000 attendees—less than in the past but better than they expected,” said Causton. “The Inspired Home Show will not reach its pre-pandemic attendance numbers, but we hope to see about 20,000 attendees.”
Following The Inspired Home Show, McCormick Place will host three more association trade shows in Q1. The venue will welcome the American Physical Society Annual Meeting March 14-18, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 2022 Annual Meeting March 22-26, and AMCP 2022 Annual Conference March 29-April 1.
In Q1, trade shows at McCormick Place are expected to draw an estimated 312,000+ attendees, generating an economic impact of $146.3 million (consumer events like the Chicago Auto Show are not included in the economic impact calculations).