The Consumer Technology Association is going to great lengths to keep CES 2022 as an in-person event. The organizers have announced that you’ll need proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend the technology expo when it kicks off January 5th. There’s also a chance you can get in to CES with proof of a positive antibody test, although the CTA is still “assessing” that possibility.
CTA chief Gary Shapiro explained the decision as a reflection of “today’s science” showing that vaccines are the “best hope” for curbing COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus’ Delta variant is known to be highly transmissible and more likely to produce severe symptoms in younger unvaccinated people.
There was no mention of just which vaccines would be considered acceptable. We’ve asked the CTA for more details, although it did mention that it would follow “state and local guidelines” as well as CDC recommendations.
Attendance might be a problem if the CTA sticks to US-authorized vaccine regimens. If you’ve had mixed doses (such as in Canada) or a vaccine that hasn’t been approved in the States (such as AstraZeneca or Sinopharm), you might be out of luck even if the shots are highly effective. A virtual CES show is still available for those who won’t attend in person, but that may serve as a mere consolation prize if you were otherwise comfortable with going.
As it stands, it’s not clear if this will reassure would-be guests and exhibitors. While the CTA is taking a number of precautions at CES 2022 beyond the vaccination requirement, such as mask requirements and extra spacing, this definitely isn’t a throwback to CES 2020 and earlier events where crowds were (relatively) safe. And as other event organizers have learned, the pandemic can change quickly — what seems safe now could be risky a few months later.
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