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Omicron Likely Won’t Derail CES in Early January

While not close to its 2020 figures, registration for both attendees and exhibitors of the technology megashow is trending strongly enough to make it work.

With the omicron variant of Covid bringing stricter travel rules from the United States government plus renewed travel restrictions from many corporations, eyes have been on the nation’s first big business-focused show of 2022: Will it have to postpone its in-person component on short notice?

Despite omicron fears, though, between December 1 and December 10 about 15,000 people signed up to attend what is typically the largest industry event in the world: CES, the international technology show organized by the Consumer Technology Association, set for January 5 to 8 in Las Vegas.

While 182,000 people attended the last in-person CES held in January 2020—just weeks before the initial international outbreak of Covid shut down travel and business events—show officials are hoping to draw at least 100,000 attendees to Vegas three weeks from now. Given that more than 1,900 companies have committed to exhibiting at CES, which is about half the number that participated in the 2020 show, that attendee figure might be possible. The association said that “tens of thousands” have registered thus far, but would not be more specific.

"We're not unrealistic: The show's going to be smaller this year," said Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Consumer Technology Association, in this article from Reuters. However, "that allows us to widen the aisles and accommodate social distancing." She added that interest for in-person attendance is still "full steam ahead.”

All participants will be required to show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination for the show. Also, attendees and exhibitors from outside the United States must show proof of a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours to board a flight into the country.

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