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Detroit auto show canceled as FEMA prepares venue to be a field hospital for COVID-19

The 2020 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit has been canceled as FEMA officials prepare to use its venue, the TCF Center, as a temporary field hospital for COVID-19, CNBC reports.

“Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan, and we will do what we can to support our community’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak,” Rod Alberts, executive director of the show, said in a statement announcing the decision.

As of Saturday Michigan had at least 4,650 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 111 deaths, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Tickets for the show will be refunded. The next NAIAS is scheduled for June 2021.

NAIAS is the fourth big auto show to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The New York International Auto Show, originally slated to open April 10th, has been postponed until August. Its venue, the Jacob K. Javits Center, also is being repurposed by FEMA and the National Guard as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients.

China postponed the Beijing Auto Show, which was scheduled to begin on April 21st. And the Geneva Motor Show, which was supposed to take place earlier this month, was canceled after the Swiss government banned large gatherings of more than 1,000 people.