Just when you hoped it was safe to go back to a trade show….

Even as key exhibiting companies and registered attendees were pulling out of next month’s CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis due to the alarming escalation of infections in the wake of the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) issued a statement Tuesday that in-person attendees for CES 2022 in January will be required to show proof of vaccinations to get in to that event.

Furthermore, the CTA assured industry members that as last year, they will be able to engage in CES 2022 announcements through live and recorded virtual presentations should they feel the risk of possible personal exposure to be too great to travel.

The news comes as more and more states and municipalities — not including Indianapolis so far — around the country had started to step up safety measures, including the the return of mask mandates.

As of July 29th, the state of Nevada re-imposed a mask mandate for public indoor settings in places where COVID-19 was surging, including the state’s largest cities.

The Indianapolis City-County Council ended its mask mandate on June 8th for people who had been fully vaccinated, following the repeal of a statewide mask mandate in April. The state left guidance on face coverings up to local governments, and Marion County was one of the last counties in the state to consider easing the mask mandate, according to the Indy Star.

It should be noted that both Las Vegas and Indianapolis have major league sports franchises that are currently playing games in front of live audiences in those cities.

As of Tuesday morning, both CTA and Emerald Exhibitions, which puts on CEDIA Expo, appeared to be determined to put on live in-person components of their respective shows, leaving it to exhibitors to determine for themselves, employees and customers whether or not to reduce the risk of viral exposure from in-person contact at CES 2022 and CEDIA Expo 2021.

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Concerning CEDIA Expo, as of Tuesday, companies including: Samsung/Harman, Sony, Sound United, Sonos, Savant, Snap One and others had either formally announced or notified dealers that they were out of CEDIA Expo 2021, at least physically. There are still some four months to go before CES 2022.

According to a statement from CTA Tuesday morning, CES 2022 “will require in-person attendees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. CES 2022 will take place in Las Vegas on January 5-8, 2022. For those who may be unable to travel to Las Vegas, CTA will again create a digital event that will run in parallel with the in-person program. Digital audiences will have the opportunity to share the spirit of the in-person event.”

“Based on today’s science, we understand vaccines offer us the best hope for stopping the spread of COVID-19,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “We all play a part in ending the pandemic through encouraging vaccinations and implementing the right safety protocols. We are taking on our responsibility by requiring proof of vaccination to attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas.”

CTA said it is also assessing the acceptance of proof of a positive antibody test as an alternative requirement and will share more details on this later.

“Safety, security and health are always a priority at CES, and we will follow state and local guidelines and recommendations by the CDC. CTA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will announce additional protocols closer to the show,” the association said.

“In Las Vegas, attendees will experience a host of new technologies from global companies, hear about the future of technology from thought leaders and collaborate face-to-face with other attendees,” CTA’s statement continued. “Some 2000 companies including major brands and start-ups will be in Las Vegas. CES 2022 will feature new categories showcasing how the industry is evolving, including space tech, food tech and NFTs. The show will highlight advancements in AI, AR/VR, gaming and computing, digital health, automotive and transportation, home entertainment, smart home and more. Audiences will hear from industry leaders during live keynotes, including General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. The CES keynote schedule will be updated regularly as speakers are announced.”

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By Greg Tarr

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