A number of major technology companies have already withdrawn from next year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Because of the threat posed by the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Amazon, Meta, Twitter, and T-Mobile have announced that they will no longer attend the event in person. The show was strictly online-only earlier this year, but the Consumer Technology Association announced in April that it will return as an in-person event in 2022. While the organizer requires attendees to show proof of vaccination in order to attend the expo, the emergence of the Omicron variant prompted companies to reconsider their plans.
Amazon said in a statement to Bloomberg that it will no longer have an on-site presence at the event “due to the rapidly changing situation and uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant.” Ring, its smart home subsidiary, will also not be present. Meanwhile, Facebook parent company Meta announced that it will no longer attend the expo in person “due to the evolving public health concerns related to COVID-19.” It may participate in the event virtually, but the company has yet to provide more concrete details.
Twitter, too, has canceled its in-person appearance “because of an increase in Covid cases across the country in the last week ” It is reportedly looking into ways for people to participate virtually as well. Even CES sponsor T-Mobile has chosen to take a step back and limit its on-site presence. “While we are confident that CES organizers are taking extensive measures to protect in-person attendees, and we had many preventative practices in place as well,” the company said in a statement. Pinterest and iHeartRadio are two other companies that have decided to cancel.
The Omicron variant is still shrouded in mystery, but researchers have discovered that it is a highly transmissible strain. Furthermore, their findings indicate that most non-mRNA vaccines (such as Sinovac and Sinopharm) provide almost no protection against the variant. However, the CTA has yet to announce any changes to the event, and the in—person expo is still scheduled for January.