Another cancellation hits Moscone: 5 events booked through year’s end – San Francisco Chronicle

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Last year, San Francisco’s Moscone Center celebrated a $551 million expansion as business and leisure travel to the city hit a record high. In the wake of the coronavirus, hallways that were crammed with visitors have been empty since March, and will remain so until at least September.

The center’s once robust events calendar has dwindled to only five events booked through the rest of the year, according to San Francisco Travel, the city’s tourism bureau.

The Cannabis Business Summit & Expo is scheduled for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, followed by the events from the Urban Land Institute, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the San Francisco International Auto Show and the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting.

MCI Group, the Cannabis Business Summit event manager, confirmed the event is still planned for September and is working with Moscone Center to identify safety measures.

But large conventions require the end of the city’s shelter-in-place order and full reopening, classified as phase 4 of San Francisco’s reopening process. Neither the state nor the city has a timeline for when that will happen.

The American Public Health Association’s 12,500-person annual meeting recently switched from an in-person Moscone Center event to online-only because of the coronavirus. Salesforce’s 171,000-person Dreamforce, the city’s biggest convention, is also online-only this year.

Events at Moscone Center were all canceled in March as a shelter-in-place order was announced. Moscone Center became the headquarters of the city’s Emergency Operations Center and Moscone Center West later offered shelter for the homeless.

The ongoing loss of what could be millions of visitors during 2020 has devastated local businesses, from hotels to event companies to restaurants. Tourism is the city’s biggest industry and supported more than 86,111 jobs before the virus, according to San Francisco Travel.

Vietnamese restaurant Green Papaya, which is steps away from Moscone Center, has struggled to pay rent at a city-owned building as convention business vanished. Other nearby businesses already saw a drop in sales while Moscone closed partially during its expansion but saw a resurgence as the center fully reopened in 2019.

California allowed leisure travel to resume this month, but the state saw a record-high number of new daily virus cases this week, surpassing 7,000 on Tuesday. San Francisco, which has not seen a local surge, is allowing additional services like barber shops and outdoor bar seating to reopen on Monday.

Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: roland.li@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rolandlisf

This article originally appeared here in https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/APHA-cancels-SF-s-Moscone-Center-has-no-15367007.php

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