The coronavirus claimed its second seafood show in a week Tuesday when the organizer of the Seafood Expo Global bowed to the persistent spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday and cancelled the Brussels, Belgium, show set for April 21 to 23.

The precautionary move by Diversified Communications seemed highly likely after the Portland, Maine, company on March 3 indefinitely postponed its Boston-based Seafood Expo North America amid the unabated public health crisis in the United States and throughout the world.

"Postponing is inevitable and unavoidable because of the public health concerns," Liz Plizga, Diversified Communications group vice president said in a statement. "Diversified Communications has made the very difficult decision that, due to the magnitude of the unanticipated public health and safety issues posed by the rapidly escalating COVID-19 outbreaks and contagion, we have no choice but to postpone the upcoming edition of the Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global."

The organizer said it hopes to reschedule the event for later this year and "intends to announce the new dates no later than March 18."

Diversified Communications, following a strategy it employed in postponing the Boston show, said registered exhibitors and visitors for the Brussels show have the choice of rolling over their fees — and in the case of exhibitors, their confirmed exhibition space — to the rescheduled 2020 Seafood Expo Global or using them next April, when the sprawling international seafood show moves to Barcelona, Spain.

The announcement came Tuesday after the Belgium government urged the cancellation of any indoor event with more than 1,000 attendees after the country said it is recording COVID-19 cases unrelated to foreign travel.

The Brussels show, according to Diversified, was expected to be the largest in the 28-year history of the show. It said the show was trending toward 1,622 exhibitors and 40,851 square meters, or more than 134,000 square feet, of booked exhibition space. 

Meanwhile, Diversified has not announced new dates for its rescheduled Seafood Expo North America show "either in Boston or another city." The announcement is expected by mid-April, the organizer said.

The city of Gloucester, which had planned to have presence at the Boston show to for developing business contacts for Gloucester seafood businesses and promote the city's Gloucester Fresh brand, will decide whether to attend the postponed show or roll over it commitment to the 2021 show when details are released, according to Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. 

The mayor said the $20,000 the city budgets for the show is protected.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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