The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) has canceled the Global Force Symposium and Exposition that was scheduled for next week in Huntsville.
People who have registered to attend will be contacted by AUSA staff about cancellation and refund policies.
About 6,000 Army and defense industry leaders were scheduled to attend the yearly event at the Von Braun Center.
"For the health and safety of all of our members and the participants in Global Force, canceling next week's event is, regrettably, the right decision," said retired Gen. Carter Ham, AUSA's president and CEO.
The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitor's Bureau said the event was expected to bring in about $3.6 million to the economy.
“We understand AUSA's desire to prioritize the health and safety of their delegates, and look forward to welcoming them in 2021. Going forward, the CVB will continue to work with our hospitality partners and public health officials to ensure that the health and safety of our visitors remains a top priority,” said Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the CVB. “Supporting our local hospitality industry is also of utmost importance – as travel is impacted, we encourage our residents to explore their own backyard and be patrons to our Huntsville/Madison County restaurants, attractions, hotels, and others.”
WAAY 31 reached out to the city of Huntsville about the cancellation, and Mayor Tommy Battle released a statement about it.
“The City of Huntsville has developed a great partnership with AUSA over the past several years,” said Battle. “While we share in the disappointment of the community, we respect their decision to make the health of AUSA members, participants and our citizens a top priority. We will continue to work with them and look forward to seeing AUSA in Huntsville in the coming years.”
Since the symposium was expected to bring about 6,000 people to the area, the vistors and convention bureau said it encourages locals to take advantage of resteraunts and attractions not being as full next week, and it hopes no other events are canceled.
"I know that working with the city,the CVB, our hotel partners and the Von Braun Center, they do have systems in place. They have added a lot of of hand sanitizer stations, posting a lot of things about washing your hands, so they do have a lot of systems in place to make it a safe environment," Jamie Koshofer Vice President of Conventions with the CVB said.
WAAY 31 also reached out to the Von Braun Center about the cancellation. The spokeswoman, Samantha Neilson, released the following statement:
"The Von Braun Center has been following recommended protocol from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alabama State Health Department, the International Association of Venue Managers, and local city entities. Precautionary measures to maintain and monitor building cleanliness for guests and employees through increased cleaning and sanitizing procedures have been implemented, while remaining open and fully operational. Event cancellations are at the discretion of the event organizers and the VBC will work with event organizers in making sure their guests are made aware and are refunded for their purchases. In the event of future cancellations, we will post on our Facebook page and assist in contacting attendees as needed."