ConExpo show organizer the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, countering speculation after the Volvo Group pulled out of the show Thursday, said on Friday that an “overwhelming majority of CONEXPO -CON/AGG exhibitors have confirmed their participation in next week’s show in Las Vegas.”

In a joint announcement with AEM, Volvo Construction Equipment said its booth, which has been under construction for weeks, will be open to attendees. There just won’t be Volvo employees staffing the booth. Mack Trucks, also in the Volvo Group, announced similar plans.

North America’s largest construction equipment show is battling a foe that few anticipated weeks ago would impact it: growing global concern about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, AEM President Dennis Slater said “cancellations to date represent 44,950 square feet out of 2.7 million net square feet of exhibit space, which represents about 1.7 percent of the total space. We’ve re-sold 15,500 square feet of this cancelled space.”

In the joint statement, Volvo CE added:

At this point in preparations it would not be possible for Volvo CE to remove the equipment and dismantle the booth before the show begins. Instead, a small number of locally hired independent staff will remain on the site for the duration of the show. The booth will be ready for show opening on Tuesday March, 10th.

Volvo CE is deeply appreciative of AEM’s collaboration in this difficult moment and recognizes the great value that the Conexpo-Con/Agg show brings to our industry and our customers every three years.

AEM says no other major exhibitors have cancelled from the show and “many companies are reconfirming their commitment to participate.”

While acknowledging it may see more cancellations — and pointing out that the majority of cancellations have been limited to booths 400 square feet in size and under — AEM says its received 18,000 new registrants to the show since Feb. 21 “when the travel restrictions and coronavirus started to have an impact. That total is far outpacing the last show and also our cancellations to date.”

In addition, most customer cancellations “are focused on international registrants and some big U.S. corporate customers placing travel restrictions.” Show registrations are now at more than “120,000 and climbing,” says AEM. “Even if the cancellations total 10,000, which they don’t to date, we have a huge audience of customers coming to the show.”

“We know customers are committed to attending the show in numbers and they are expecting to see and purchase equipment from the manufacturers of the best equipment in the world,” says Slater.

“Please know we are committed to hosting safe and successful shows,” AEM says. “Our top priority is focused on the health and safety of all participants at CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE 2020, including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, staff, industry partners, and others involved in the shows.”