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James Beard Foundation Postpones Finalist Announcement Due to Coronavirus

The announcement was originally planned for a March 25 event in Philadelphia

A James Beard Awards medal
A James Beard Awards medal
James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation has postponed the finalist announcement for the 2020 James Beard Awards, originally scheduled for March 25. The news comes days after the Foundation decided to postpone the James Beard Awards events in Chicago and New York City amid concerns around the spread of COVID-19. The finalist announcement will be rescheduled for an as-yet-undetermined later date, while the awards events will go on sometime this summer.

The James Beard Awards finalist announcement whittles down a long list of semifinalists in the chef and restaurant categories and debuts the list of finalists for the media awards categories. Those names were to be read out during an event at Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation museum, but rather than shift to an online-only announcement, the Foundation is putting it off completely.

A statement from the James Beard Foundation explains: “The time will come to acknowledge and celebrate our industry but now, more than ever, our focus is to use our voice and platform as a resource for our community to face the current challenges that exist as a result of this crisis.”

The Foundation is joining a chorus of organizations looking for ways to prop up the hospitality industry, which is being hit hard by mandated or elective closures of dining rooms to enforce social distancing. Tomorrow, it will host a webinar for chefs and restaurateurs to discuss the pandemic’s impact on restaurants; the Foundation is also inviting them to take part in a survey to collect economic data for the “Foundation to provide valuable information to legislators drafting emergency and longer-term legislation that would help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus.”

James Beard Foundation [Official]