CES and NRF try to stay the course
Two major trade shows are facied with a predicted Omicron surge and continuing travel chaos.
Two major upcoming live events are trying to stay the course as experts predict the Omicron wave will peak in mid-January. CES, the major tech trade show originally scheduled for January 5 through 8 will, now close one day early die to COVID-19 concerns. “The step was taken as an additional safety measure to the current health protocols that have been put in place for CES,” said the Consumer Technology Association in a release.
Although the show has over 2,000 confirmed in-person exhibitors, high profile companies like Google, Intel and Microsoft have canceled in-person appearances but may participate virtually.
Retail’s big show, NRF, is still coming to New York City’s Javits Center on Jnuary 16-18, with an opening party on January 15. With over 800 exhibitors, at time of writing the show had not announced any new restrictions. The show will require proof of vaccination and mask wearing and will make rapid tests available on site. Attendees are advised to test before traveling to attend the show, but testing is not mandatory.
Why we care. Live events on this scale are months in the planning, of course, and nobody could have seen the speed and scale at which the Omicron variant would impact every day life. Aside from the risks inevitably associated with large-scale indoor gatherings, even for vaccinated attendees, those planning to fly into Las Vegas or New York also face a catastrophic situation at airports with staff shortages resulting in thousands of flight cancelations. If the Omicron wave peaks in mid-January, it seems likely that travel will be as difficult as it was over the holiday period.