2020 NAIAS Canceled. TCF Center to be Field Hospital. Michigan’s COVID Crisis had Little Federal Help

AutoInformed.com on 2020 NAIAS

Governor Gretchen Whitmer at  2019 NAIAS.

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced today that it is canceling the June 2020 show in Detroit because of the global corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will likely convert the Convention Hall (TCF Center) into a field hospital for an unknown period of time. The effect on the Detroit Auto Dealers Association – organizers of the show – is unknown, but like COVID-19, it could be fatal. According to the Labor Department, nearly 3.3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. The last weekly record, set in 1982, was 695,000 claims.

Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmore today publicly released a letter to President Trump requesting a major disaster declaration during the COVID-19 pandemic that she wrote last week.

  • If granted in full, among other things, a disaster declaration would help the state provide meals to families who need them and provide rental assistance and temporary housing to families.
  • It would also allow the state to provide counseling and therapy for Michigan residents whose mental health is affected by COVID-19, whether they or a loved one gets sick or hospitalized.
  • Additionally, the declaration would provide much-needed additional capacity and funding to the state in the event Michigan needs to quickly set up field hospitals or other facilities.”

Whitmer this morning also accepted the recommendation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, for an alternate care facility conversion at the TCF Center in Detroit. The decision comes as Michigan continues its effort to address imminent health care capacity issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA will fund construction and supply the site, which will have approximately 900 bed spaces.

“With the more than 100 convention centers and facilities around the country being considered to potentially serve as hospitals, it became clear to us that TCF Center would be an inevitable option to serve as a care facility to satisfy our community’s urgent health needs,” said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts. 

“Our thoughts continue to be with those whose lives have been impacted by this devastating virus.  And, we support the city and state’s mission to help preserve life in the face of this challenging situation,” said Alberts.

Whitmore started acting on the crisis weeks ago while other Governors – Louisiana and Floriduh come to mind, are still in denial. “We’ve seen an incredible amount of strength and courage of Michiganders during this time of uncertainty, whether it’s from communities donating food, money, and resources to those that need it or from teachers finding new and creative ways to reach out to their students,” said Governor Whitmer.

“I am hopeful that the president will grant my request for a major disaster declaration in full and within a matter of days so we can provide more services to Michiganders who need them,” said Whitmore.

The programs the governor requested to assist Michiganders during this time include, but are not limited to the following categories of individual assistance:

  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance,
  • Disaster Crisis Counseling,
  • Disaster Case Management,
  • Individuals and Households Program,
  • Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,
  • Disaster Survivor Assistance,
  • Disaster Legal Services, and Voluntary Agency Coordination.

If approved, these programs would provide direct assistance to Michiganders through state, tribal, and local partnerships with FEMA and other agencies.

NAIAS will hold its next annual show in June 2021. 2020 NAIAS Chairman Doug North said show officials are also discussing plans for a fundraising activity later this year to benefit the children’s charities that were designated as beneficiaries of the 2020 Charity Preview event.

AutoInformed.com on NAIAS 2019 Charity Preview“We know these organizations rely on the money raised at Charity Preview to fund many wonderful support services for the most vulnerable in our community,” North said. “With this in mind, we will be in touch with the charities in the near future to present some ideas.” North, who will act as Chairman of the 2021 NAIAS, expressed the show’s gratitude to all of its stakeholders.

All tickets purchased for the 2020 NAIAS show, including tickets for the Public Show, Industry Preview and Charity Preview will be fully refunded. Charity Preview ticket holders will be given the option of a refund, or the opportunity to donate the proceeds of their refund to one of the nine designated Charity Preview beneficiaries. The NAIAS ticket office will be in contact with all ticket holders.

The NAIAS sponsorship team will also be in contact with each sponsor directly to answer questions regarding refunds and their contracts.

The 2021 show dates are:

  • Motor Bella: Friday, June 11 – Monday, June 14
  • The Gallery: Monday, June 14
  • Press Preview: Tuesday, June 15 – Wednesday, June 16
  • AutoMobili-D Powered by PlanetM: Tuesday, June 15 -Thursday, June 17
  • Industry Preview: Wednesday, June 16 – Thursday, June 17
  • Charity Preview: Friday, June 18
  • Public Show: Saturday, June 19 – Saturday, June 26

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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