“The show must go on” is a popular phrase within the entertainment industry, but the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and Southern California has the IATSE wondering whether or not it will.
"All of our union members right now are in shock,” IATSE shop steward Robert Morales said. “How are we going to survive the next step?”Nearly a half dozen small to medium-size trade shows were cancelled a week ago.
The largest of them, the Experimental Biology trade show at the convention center, was cancelled last Friday. "Normally a convention like Experimental Biology would put 500 people to work,” IATSE business representative Richard Disbrow said.
Disbrow sent this warning to the membership Monday."I strongly suggest that every member saves their money and spends it on essential items." Filing for unemployment is their next option, according to Disbrow.
Spring is ordinarily one of their busiest seasons. Union members are still hoping this year's poor start won't bring down the curtain.
"We don't know how long this is going to go on for, so I really want to make sure my membership is set up for success so they'll be able to weather the storm," he said.
The convention and trade show business is the economic engine that runs the hotels, restaurants and small business downtown, according to Disbrow. He said San Diego should expect a trickle down effect if the coronavirus goes unchecked through this summer.