Posted on: December 31, 2021, 04:16h.
Last updated on: December 31, 2021, 04:36h.
While the calendar is about to turn the page to 2022, it appears we’re still not ready to turn the page from COVID-19. The latest indication of that came Friday afternoon, when organizers of CES 2022 – one of Las Vegas’ largest conventions – announced they would cut their next week’s trade show by one day.
An attendee of CES 2020 in Las Vegas takes part in a sports simulator. On Friday, the Consumer Technology Association announced that CES 2022 will be reduced to three days next week because of the emergence of the COVID-19 omicron variant (Image: CES/Twitter)
The Consumer Technology Association said that the show will now run from next Wednesday to Friday (Jan. 5-7). They also revealed additional safety measures to protect attendees from COVID-19 and the highly transmissible omicron variant. Those measures include allowing registrants to participate virtually.
As the world’s most influential technology event, CES is steadfast in its pledge to be the gathering place to showcase products and discuss ideas that will ultimately make our lives better,” CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said in the statement. “We are shortening the show to three days, and have put in place comprehensive health measures for the safety of all attendees and participants.”
The in-person conference has events spread across the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and several properties along the Strip. The LVCC is also the hub for the exhibit space. More than 2,200 will have space on the show floor, the association said.
A number of high-profile companies, including Amazon and Meta, have made the call to not send representatives to the show. However, the CTA said that 143 companies have registered for exhibit space in the past two weeks alone.
CES 2021 was held as a virtual-only show.
Audited figures show more than 171,000 verified individuals attended CES 2020, which also drew representatives from 330 of the companies on the 2019 Fortune Global 500 list.
Full Vaccination Required, Testing Requested for CES 2022
Among the requirements show organizers have implemented for CES 2022 are a stipulation that in-person attendees must be fully vaccinated and show proof before they can pick up their credentials and enter a conference venue.
American participants are encouraged to use the CLEAR Health Pass app, which was also used at October’s Global Gaming Expo. Those coming from outside the US or US attendees who cannot use the CLEAR app will need to show proof of vaccination at a designated site. Officials are also mandating that all individuals pick up their own credentials.
Trade show credentials will be available at Terminals 1 and 3 at Harry Reid International Airport. Attendees who pick up their badges there will also receive a COVID-19 self-test kit.
Organizers are also requesting that all attendees take a COVID test less than 24 hours before entering a show venue. Each kit will contain two Abbott BinaxNOW nasal-swab tests that can reveal results in 15 minutes, the CTA statement said.
Masks will also be required at all CES 2022 venues.
International travelers will also receive a free PCR test to take prior to their departing flight from Las Vegas.
Those attending the conference virtually will be able to watch more than 40 sessions. That includes keynote speakers, press conferences, and exhibitor presentations.
Omicron Leads to COVID Record in Vegas
The CES 2022 announcement came on the same day Vegas area officials announced a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases. The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) announced there were 3,363 new cases identified on Thursday, an increase of 997 cases from Wednesday.
As has been the case in New York City, which has also been reporting record numbers, and other cities, the spike in Las Vegas cases is due to omicron, health officials say.
With large crowds expected to gather across the country to ring in 2022, there’s great concern that the number of new cases may continue to rise well into January.
SNHD Health Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen said that people need to make sure they’re taking the right steps to protect themselves and others from the virus.
“The best way to protect ourselves today is for everyone to be fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose of the vaccine if eligible, wear well-fitting masks when indoors and in crowded settings, wash your hands frequently, and most importantly stay home and away from others if they are sick,” Leguen said.