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On The Front Lines of COVID-19: ExhibitorLive Postponed, Ad Rail USA, EDPA NE, Gilman Bros. & T3 Expo

(Pictured: AdRail USA had been designing antimicrobial/sanitary escalator rails long before COVID-19)

by Amadeus Finlay

Summer is almost here. With such seasonal signs of hope and rebirth, there is a renewed sense of vigor in the tradeshow and event industry as it continues to battle the impacts and implications of COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 shut down Las Vegas and forced the postponement of EXHIBITORLIVE 2020, the show producers released a statement on May 20 that “Due to the public health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 and the restrictive constraints on large events, all parties have concluded that we must postpone EXHIBITORLIVE beyond our tentative August dates. EXHIBITORLIVE 2020 will be postponed until Feb. 28 – March 4, 2021, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas,” and they continue, “As we mentioned in previous announcements, all payments made for registrations, sponsorships, and exhibiting will be applied to this rescheduled EXHIBITORLIVE 2020.”

As we wait until 2021 for the next ExhibitorLive gathering of our community, few would dispute that EDPA is the social heartbeat of the tradeshow industry. It drives community spirit in the best of times, and helps to keep us together during the worst. On May 21, the Northeast chapter convened a digital meeting to promote Exhibitions Day followed by a virtual education seminar and happy hour discussion. The event was open to all industry professionals, with the goal of championing cohesion and durability during uncertain times.

“We have been dedicated to keeping our community active through quarantine,” explains EDPA NE President Marisa Pacheco Johnson. “It started with happy hour zoom calls to see how we were all doing and have dialogue on how the industry was pivoting and now we’ve had several weeks of increased attendees and great conversation that has gone beyond our chapter and even the EDPA.

“We realized that as an organized community we can have influence and power,” she adds, “which is why we dedicated this week’s conversation to the importance of attending this year’s virtual Exhibitions Day. We are empowering our peers to engage in real time activity that gets noticed.”

Moving back to the industry’s physical realm, Ad Rail USA, the exclusive U.S. provider of Ad Rail escalator handrail media, had been dealing in sanitary practices years before the world had even heard of the coronavirus. As Gianni Cotteta, founder and CEO of Ad Rail USA explains, by fitting existing handrails with a non-permanent, removable film that eliminates germs, users can travel safely without compromising their health.

“Our escalator handrail sponsorship always included an antimicrobial property, however it is now a key benefit,” reveals Cotteta, “and, as our contribution in the continuous fight against germs, we are making it safer for the public to hold on to the escalator handrail by providing a safety-promoting anti-microbial protected surface.”

The fight against the virus at the microbial level is at the very front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Massachusetts, the award-winning building firm, T3 Expo, has been tirelessly doing just that. Working in partnership with The Gilman Brothers Company, T3 recently built 700 beds in just four days for deployment at Western Connecticut University’s O’Neill Center.

COVID Chris Valentine, CEO at T3 Expo“The impact of COVID-19 on the entire events industry is catastrophic,” says T3 CEO Chris Valentine (pictured left). “We needed to pivot to creatively find revenue to keep people employed. The culture and creativity of a company comes through in these times.

“Beyond the work making modular beds for the state of Connecticut, we built a makeshift hospital at Jacob Javits Center, and most recently the double hooped bed tent that is being used in hospitals across Massachusetts. We are also continuing to work on socially safe environmental designs for our clients’ events and shows that will hopefully take place in the fall and in early 2021.”

Upcoming stories in this series will feature all those companies and individuals that have risen to the occasion to build temporary medical facilities, masks and whatever is needed during the current crisis. If your company is going above and beyond to assist in this fight, please email us at and Amadeus at for inclusion in future stories in this series.

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