CES tech fair prepares to draw crowds as Covid-19 surges

Business

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the world’s largest trade fairs, returns to Las Vegas in person this week under a newly resurgent pandemic that has supercharged the industry but threatens its downsized expo.

Multiple companies – including Amazon, BMW and Microsoft – reduced or cancelled their attendance as Covid-19 case numbers broke records, but organisers said safety protocols were in place for thousands of expected attendees.

Attendees will be expected to wear masks and produce proof of vaccination at the show that opens Wednesday and was trimmed by one day to end Friday, with expected exhibitors down more that half to roughly 2,200 from the last in-person CES.

“We are confident that attendees and exhibitors can have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas,” said organisers.

Some experts urged caution and daily testing, as not all attendees can be counted on to comply with mask-wearing rules.

“An indoor event with thousands of people at this point in time carries risks, even with vaccination and masking requirements,” Vincent Rajkumar, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

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