TEFAF Maastricht in the Netherlands announced today that because of the coronavirus the thirty-third edition of the fair, which opened on March 7 and was scheduled to close on Sunday, March 15, will end its run early. The decision was made after the fair learned that one of its 280 exhibitors had been diagnosed with the coronavirus on Monday, March 9. The unidentified individual did not have any symptoms while at the fair and left the city on Sunday, March 8. In a statement released earlier today, Frank Klaasen, the head of the South Limburg Medical Health Service, said, “The exhibitor was not contagious during his time in TEFAF.”
“In close consultation with the city of Maastricht, the health authorities, and MECC Maastricht, TEFAF has decided to shorten the fair and to close by the end of the day, March 11, 2020 at 7 PM,” reads a statement issued by the event’s organizers. “While the health advice of the authorities in the immediate region has not changed, we understand the situation in the Netherlands and neighboring countries is changing. We have also taken into account the growing concern of exhibitors, visitors, and staff and the ever-growing difficulties regarding travel and transport.”
Nanne Dekking, chairman of the board of trustees at TEFAF added: “Given the recent developments in the regions around Maastricht and increasing concerns, we no longer feel it is appropriate to continue as planned. . . .The TEFAF community has always excelled in bringing the best art in the world to Maastricht, we are proud to have witnessed how professional and how united our TEFAF family stood during this fair and unprecedented circumstances.”
Annemarie Penn te Strake, the mayor of the city of Maastricht remarked: “I support and respect this decision. We understand the unrest is growing due to circumstances in the countries of origin and the regions surrounding us. It’s only right that there is attention to this concern. We are proud of our many years of partnership with TEFAF and know that this strong bond also helps us through difficult times.”
TEFAF Maastricht welcomed around 10,000 international visitors over the course of its Early Access Day (March 5) and Preview Day (March 6) and reported robust sales. As of Tuesday, Dutch health officials confirmed that the Netherlands has 382 cases of the virus and reported that a total of four people have died.