While the 2020 Geneva Motor Show was to open its doors to the public on March 5, it has been cancelled after the Swiss government banned gatherings of 1,000 people or more on Friday due to concerns over the coronavirus epidemic. The ban became effective immediately and runs at least until March 15th. The 90th edition of the show was scheduled to start next week.

“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision,” said motor show chairman Maurice Turrettini in a statement.

Tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded.

Some manufacturers had already decided to pass on this year’s show, however.  PSA Group had confirmed in January that its Peugeot, Citroën, and Opel/Vauxhall brands wouldn’t be attending, instead choosing to focus on bespoke events for its new models, while Lamborghini and Jaguar Land Rover were also taking a rain check.  DS Automobiles was the only brand of the PSA Group that was to be at the show. Its cancellation will no doubt cause all automakers to rethink car launches auto shows.

Palexpo, the foundation that puts on the Geneva Motor Show, had tried to keep it afloat by issuing a slate of warnings to attendees. It said it would increase the rate of cleaning and disinfection around the convention centre, asked exhibitors from “at-risk areas” to screen their staff, and advised attendees to regularly wash their hands and also keep at least three feet away from anyone “who is coughing or sneezing.”

Update – March 5, 2020: You can view the DS Automobiles video produced in place of the Geneva Motor Show showcasing both the DS9 and the DS Aero Coupe Concept here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6PJzcPXASs