A second large vendor-only event of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase has canceled for 2021 because of rising COVID-19 cases.
The American Gem Trade Association’s GemFair has been part of the Tucson show for nearly 40 years.
“We have worked hand in hand with the many show producers in Tucson, and the Pima County Health Department to develop a show that could be safe and conscientious,” said Douglas K. Hucker, CEO of AGTA. “Unfortunately, with the trajectory of the spread of the coronavirus, the requirements we would need to meet to produce the show, and the health risks associated with a gathering of this size have made the GemFair 2021 untenable and Pima County Health Department has chosen to deny our application for the event.”
The cancellation of GemFair follows the recent cancellations of the Gem and Jewelry Exchange Show (GJX) and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Showcase (TGMS). 2021 would have been the 39th AGTA GemFair Tucson show.
The company did not respond to emails about what was cited for the decline in its application.
Andy Squire, a spokesman for the city of Tucson, said the county did not deny AGTA’s application but asked it to resubmit an event application with more stringent protocols in place. It did not.
“They had to make a business decision,” Squire said. “And, if cases get worse and the TCC become a COVID hospital they’d be out.”
The overall gem show, with more than 50 locations around town, had a direct economic impact of $131 million in 2019.
“While times are certainly strange right now, it’s important that AGTA works to find new ways to facilitate trade for our members and buyers,” Hucker said, noting that virtual trade shows and seminars are in the works.
AGTA plans to hold the 2022 GemFair event in Tucson Feb. 1 through 6.
“The good news is they are planning a heck of a show in 2022,” Squire said. “Nobody is saying they’re done showing in Tucson.”