Senior Times cancels spring expo to reduce seniors’ risk

By Melanie Hair

We have canceled our spring Senior Times Spring 2020 Expo. We are confident it’s the right decision.

The outbreak of coronavirus in our state made our choice a simple one. We simply won’t put our community’s seniors at increased risk.

Seniors are the most susceptible to severe illness, complications and possibly death from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease and Control. In fact, CDC data and discussions with Benton-Franklin Health District officials reinforced our decision. Older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease face the highest risk of exposure to the virus.

For those of you who may not know, we also publish the Senior Times newspaper. First established in 1982 in the Yakima Valley, we bought the Senior Times in 2013. The monthly newspaper provides news and features of interest to those 60 and older. We also organize and produce two popular Senior Times Expos every year—in the spring and fall—where at each more than 72 vendors showcase their senior-focused products and services to about 600 attendees. The spring 2020 event, scheduled for April 21 at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex in Kennewick, would have been our 14th annual expo in the Tri-Cities.

We can’t in good conscience offer a senior-focused gathering that could put our community’s seniors in possible peril. We love and value them too much and we want them to be safe.

Our decision to cancel the spring expo has repercussions to our business as well as to our vendors and sponsors. They will not have the in-person contact with attendees they’ve become accustomed to, but they will still be able to market to them in a May 4 print and virtual vendor showcase. Our senior attendees will miss having the chance to hear about and sign up for the myriad products and services they are in need of—and surely will miss enjoying free coffee and Spudnuts with their family and friends. But they’ll be more than ready to talk with vendors face-to-face when the fall expo rolls around.

The cancellation of our spring expo ensures our fall expo will be bigger and better than ever. It will be a sell-out event so reserve your spot early. And mark your calendar for Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex in Kennewick.

Until then, please heed health officials’ recommendations to stop the spread of the coronavirus: wash your hands often, steer clear of large gatherings, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and stay home when you are sick. Here’s a complete list of suggestions from the CDC: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf and another from the Washington State Department of Health: doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDcasepositive.pdf.

To our senior and non-senior friends alike, please call your doctor immediately if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough and difficulty breathing.

Melanie Hair is the founder and chief executive officer of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times.

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