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People moving through IMEX America 2019 at Sands Expo Center. The 2021 event will take place November 8-11 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

In Vegas, Vaccine Mandates Could Mean Unmasked Meetings

The upcoming IMEX America show doesn't need to follow the Nevada mask mandate. Here's why.

As the North American meeting and event industry gears up for the return of its biggest show—IMEX America in Las Vegas from November 8 to 11—two positive developments related to the Covid pandemic will have a significant impact on the quality of the event.

First, the federal government announced in mid-October that it will allow travelers from more than 30 countries to enter the United States as of November 8, provided they are fully vaccinated and present a negative Covid test result. Given the sizable number of international exhibitors who typically come to IMEX America, that reopening date for foreign travelers was fortunate for the show. In fact, IMEX America will be the first international show in the U.S. since the foreign-traveler bans took effect in early 2020.

Second, in an October 26 email to registered participants titled “IMEX America - planning ahead and ‘good to know,’’’ show owner IMEX Group announced that “masks are optional on the IMEX trade-show floor and in IMEX meeting rooms. However, it is mandatory to wear masks indoors in Las Vegas, so please be considerate and cooperate by putting your mask on once you step away from our IMEX event space.”

Why the difference in rules for the show versus other indoor spaces in Las Vegas?

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 10.30.41 AM.pngCarina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, told MeetingsNet that “Directive 050 from the office of the Governor of Nevada authorizes an exception to the mask requirement for large events or conventions that require all attendees to be vaccinated. We applied to the Governor's office showing how we would be verifying the vaccination of participants [through the Clear Health Pass and Safe Expo apps] in order to be granted this exemption. As a result, mask wearing is optional for attendees at IMEX America this year.”

Bauer added that “the mask-wearing exemption for the show is applicable only in areas where we are able to verify that all participants are fully vaccinated—this is the IMEX show floor and IMEX meeting rooms only. The exemption does not apply to communal areas in the venue, Mandalay Bay, where mask-wearing is still a requirement as per the city-wide mandate.”

The 2019 version of IMEX America saw 14,000 participants, while more than one-quarter of its exhibit space was occupied by hotels, destinations, technology companies, and other suppliers from outside North America.

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