Coronavirus travel ban prevents 130 vendors from attending Orange County pet expo

Exhibitors from China can’t participate in the Global Pet Expo

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Concerns over the coronavirus are reaching Central Florida during this week's Global Pet Expo at the Orange County Convention Center.

Organizers said this is the biggest convention for stakeholders in the pet product industry. Manufacturers, retailers, distributors from 80 countries attend the three-day event.

However, expo officials said 130 exhibitors couldn’t participate in the convention this year because of travel restrictions from China due to the coronavirus.

“There are some empty booths that you can see around,” Andrew Lorey said.

Lorey works for Tarhong, a company that makes dog bowls and treat jars. He said the company has experienced shipping issues with their manufacturer in China because of the virus.

"We were impacted by some of the quarantines that happened over there. Luckily we are now reopened and shipping, but obviously it has put a little bit of a lag on the supply chains getting from china over to the states," he said.

Several booths on the expo floor are empty. Signs are posted saying the vendor couldn't attend this expo.

Andrew Darmohrja with the American Pet Products Association said 1,100 vendors are participating this year.

He adds the number of vendors who can't participate because of the travel ban is a small percentage of their booths.

“Since the 14-day travel ban went into effect, pretty much no one who has been in China for the last 14 days will be able to come into the U.S. so it really did impact us with those 130 companies,” Darmohrja said.

Darmohrja said the expo placed extra hand sanitizer stations around the convention center.

Lorey is hoping the coronavirus concerns won't have a lasting impact on the pet product industry.

"We're seeing this as a temporary situation, we hope anyway. It might take a little while longer to get some goods on the shelves, but it's still a very strong industry overall," he said.

Click here for more information about the Global Pet Expo.

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