CES 2022 in Danger of Cancellation, as Tech Giants Facebook, Amazon Fold on Las Vegas

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CES 2022 in Danger of Cancellation, as Tech Giants Facebook, Amazon Fold on Las Vegas

CES 2022, the massive trade event formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, is in danger of once again holding its annual convention remotely because of COVID-19.

CES Las Vegas 2022 omicron COVID-19
CES Las Vegas 2022 omicron COVID-19
The 2019 gathering of CES is seen inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. Omicron is threatening to once again cancel the in-person part of the annual major technology exhibition. (Image: Getty)

CES 2021 was held completely online. There has been plenty of excitement for the in-person return of the 2022 show next month. But the odds of the technology exhibition occurring in Las Vegas are lengthening because of the omicron variant and escalating coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations across the nation.

CES remains set to return to Las Vegas January 5-8 with numerous host venues. They include the Las Vegas Convention Center and exhibition facilities at Aria, Mandalay Bay, Venetian, and Wynn/Encore.

The in-person components are being threatened by omicron and this week’s news of several major companies bailing on sending colleagues to CES. Facebook parent Meta, Amazon, Twitter, Ring, Pinterest, and T-Mobile are a few notables that have announced that they would not be sending a contingent of reps to Southern Nevada next month.

CES Importance

Las Vegas relies greatly on its conventions and tradeshows to keep the region’s casinos busy and hotel rooms occupied throughout the year. Convention attendees typically spend more than leisure travelers, as travel and hotel expenses for businesspeople are typically covered by their employers.

No annual exhibition is more vital to Las Vegas than CES. Just days after the confetti is cleaned up off the Strip, CES traditionally arrives in town. The 2019 consumer tech showcase brought more than 182,000 people to the area, with 4,400 companies participating.

Omicron has already prompted many thousands of those attendees to stay away. Clark County’s most recent COVID-19 positivity rate is up to 8.0 percent, which puts it on the state’s “watch list” for counties experiencing high transmission.

Nevada health officials say about 12 percent of the state’s hospital beds are currently occupied by coronavirus patients.

Wait and See

CES 2022 was going to be an in-person/online hybrid convention, meaning turnout was likely to come far below the 182,000-person attendance number experienced in pre-pandemic 2019.

The recent COVID-19 spike, some say, has only been experienced in recent weeks. Therefore, more time is needed before deciding if CES will still hold live events in Las Vegas next month. Long before omicron, CES announced that all physical attendees in Las Vegas would need to be fully vaccinated and have proof as such to pick up their showcase badges. Face masks are also required for everyone while indoors.

CES will offer one complimentary Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self-Test kit per attendee. And on-site COVID-19 testing will be available for anyone feeling unwell or experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organizes CES, says the convention will be perhaps safer than going to the grocery store.

What I in a sense worry about is not the physical facilities of CES,” Shapiro explained to the Washington Post. “As one of our board members said, he feels safer going to CES than he does going to his grocery store because everyone is vaccinated at CES.”

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