Earlier this year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), normally held in-person in Las Vegas, pivoted to digital showcase in the wake of an escalating infectious pandemic.
While circumstances have changed a bit in the past few months, CES remains cautious as it preps for its 2022 event which will be held in-person but will now require proof of full vaccination for attendees.
In a press release penned by president and CEO of CES, Gary Shapiro explains the decision for CES to forge ahead with an in-person gathering while the world still faces down the Delta variant of COVID-19.
We have seen a spike in cases due to the Delta variant, which is severely hurting the unvaccinated population. Yes, there are breakthrough cases for the vaccinated, but many of those have few or no symptoms at all. And of the vaccinated getting the Delta variant, only a tiny percentage are hospitalized.
We prioritize the safety and security of CES participants. Which is why, once again, my team has confronted a major decision: CES will be in person in Las Vegas in January 2022, and we will require all attendees to be fully vaccinated. We are also assessing proof of a positive antibody test as a requirement and will share more details on this later. Importantly, we will continue to follow state and local guidelines and recommendations by the CDC and will announce additional protocols as we get closer to the show.
In Shapiro's press release, he preambles regarding the effects of shuttering the in-person CES event for this year that resulted in downsizing for the company, millions in lost income in the form of tourism and hospitality for host city Las Vegas and the industry networking that normally occurs during the weeklong showcase.
While understandably a tough decision, Shapiro and company were faced with much different circumstances in July of 2020 when COVID-19 cases were surging, and a vaccine was predicted to be almost a year out.
However, Shapiro points to the readily available vaccine in the US and its proliferation throughout the world as additional reasons to hold an in-person event in 2022 while also requiring it as proof for attendees.
We know our decision to require vaccines—and potentially positive antibody tests—may not be popular for some, but for many others it will allow them to know they can experience CES once again—and get back to business as usual.
In addition, for anyone still uncomfortable with the idea of being in a crowd or who has simply adjusted to digital conferences over the past year and half, CES 2022 will also be streamed through the event's digital platforms.