The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has called off its annual meeting, set to take place in Scottsdale, Ariz., late next month, the latest in a long number of business events canceled due to the growing COVID-19 crisis.
"As the COVID-19 situation evolved in recent weeks, NACDS continuously evaluated the prospect of presenting an Annual Meeting that lives up to expectations," said Steve Anderson, the president and CEO of the association in an email late Monday. "Regrettably, yet realistically, it became more and more apparent that a course-change would be appropriate and unavoidable. As you know, based on public health authorities’ analysis of the situation, the nation’s focus has shifted to 'flattening the curve' – or preventing the spread of COVID-19 by limiting person-to-person contact.
Anderson noted that as the board of directors was set to make a final decision, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a guidance that events of 50 or more people should not occur for the next eight weeks — a guidance Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said his state would follow for all events, including conferences. "To state the obvious, the 2020 NACDS Annual Meeting will not be held," Anderson said.
NACDS chairman and Wakefern executive vice president Chris Lane said, “Because of what the NACDS Annual meeting means for our companies, this was a tough but necessary decision. The board of directors wants all chains and supplier partners to know just how much we value your engagement. Living up to your trust means everything. We look forward to seeing you at the NACDS Total Store Expo this August and at the return of the NACDS Annual meeting next year. In the meantime, thank you for all you are doing for consumers, for your teams and for our communities
Because of the unique situation, and as part of NACDS’ member focus, NACDS said it would refund 100% of the funds members paid to NACDS related to the 2020 Annual Meeting. Anderson noted that Jim Whitman, NACDS senior vice president of member programs and services, could be reached at (703) 837-4610 for any additional questions, and that the 2020 NACDS Annual Meeting site has a Frequently Asked Questions section.
"Of the highest importance right now, NACDS recognizes that everyone in the industry is in some way addressing the COVID-19 situation — professionally and personally," Anderson said. "NACDS stands with you. NACDS is focusing on the goals of advancing health and wellness, member value, the industry’s patient-centric reputation, and the overall NACDS mission. I would like to remind you of the portal established for NACDS members at NACDS.org/Prepared for information specific to COVID-19."
Looking forward, the NACDS board is turning its attention to the 2020 NACDS Total Store Expo, which will be held Aug.8 to 10 in San Diego. The NACDS Total Store Expo will deliver on its usual expectations, and it will live up to its additional responsibilities in a year without the NACDS Annual Meeting, the organization said. NACDS also is already planning for the return of NACDS Annual Meeting next year, April 24 to 27, 2021, at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.