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London Wine Fair postpones 2020 show over coronavirus fears

The London Wine Fair (LWF) has postponed its 40th anniversary show due to coronavirus.

Organisers took the decision to postpone the event, which was due to take place from 18 to 20 May, over concerns for exhibitors, visitors and staff as the coronavirus outbreak in the UK worsens.

This year's show was set to mark the 40th anniversary of LWF, and it had organised a live auction in aid of charity to take place at the event.

While the UK government has not yet banned mass gatherings in response to the outbreak, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is encouraging people to practise "social distancing" and avoid hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues. Many venues have pre-empted an outright ban by cancelling or postponing events, or closing their doors completely.

In a statement LWF said the decision to postpone the show had been taken "with a heavy heart". 

"We are keenly aware that the developing Covid-19 pandemic is putting immense pressure on not only the events industry, but the drinks industry and the hospitality industry. We value our position at the heart of both and will always make decisions with them front of mind," it said.

"Our objective in taking this decision with two months' lead-time is to minimise unnecessary expenditure and stress caused by uncertainty. The safety of our exhibitors, visitors, sponsors, suppliers and in-house team of course takes overriding precedence in the bigger picture.

"We plan to release more information about the next steps for London Wine Fair as soon as possible."

The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) has also announced the postponement of an event. Bordeaux Day, which was due to take place at Camden House in London on 5 May, has been rescheduled for 9 September at the same venue.

Whisky Live London and Gin Live London, due to take place next week, have also been called off and are expected to be rescheduled for later in the year.

20 March 2020 - Bethany Whymark