When tens of thousands of people arrive for CES in January, they’ll be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to be registered.
The Consumer Technology Association, sponsors of Las Vegas’ largest annual trade show, announced the proof-of-vaccination policy Tuesday.
CES, a showcase for consumer electronics products, has attracted around 170,000 people every January for years through 2020. This year, the show was conducted exclusively online with no live CES presence in Las Vegas.
“Based on today’s science, we understand vaccines offer us the best hope for stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the association, said in a release. “We all play a part in ending the pandemic through encouraging vaccinations and implementing the right safety protocols. We are taking on our responsibility by requiring proof of vaccination to attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas.”
The association didn’t specify how attendees will have to prove their vaccination status but added it also is assessing the acceptance of proof of a positive antibody test as an alternative requirement. More details are expected to be announced at a later date.
The 2022 show is being offered as a hybrid presentation with a live event Jan. 5-8 paralleled with a digital version.
Analysts and academic leaders applauded the association’s move on Tuesday.
Alan Feldman, a distinguished fellow at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, said CES attendees should have the technological ability to prove vaccination when they sign up to attend.
“It may be a little bit easier in the case of CES because they know they have the technologically adept audience, whether they’re using Clear or another form of technology,” Feldman said. “It’s going to be very easy for that group to have proof of vaccination technologically.”
He said he expects that once organizations such as the Consumer Technology Association sign on to proof-of-vaccination standards, it should become more the norm than the exception.
“I just don’t see how that isn’t going to become the norm,” he said. “There are still holdouts to vaccinations and in some cases there may be some justification, but it seems to me in many cases, it’s just misinformation.”
Amanda Belarmino, an assistant professor of hospitality at UNLV, concurs.
“This seems to be the wave of the present,” she said. “As we see more institutions mandating vaccines, as well as concert venues and the National Football League, I think this will be the norm until more people get vaccinated.”
Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors, said the proof-of-vaccination policy is particularly significant because of CES’s international appeal and noted that the show’s return will mark an important step toward health and safety among large groups.
“With the return of CES in January, it shows the continued pipeline of shows that look to return to the destination, hopefully with international guests as part of the attendees,” Bussmann said.
“We continue to be in uncertain and unprecedented times, but the constant over the last 17 months has been the desire by the industry and its customers to provide strong health and safety measures for guests and staff,” Bussmann said. “This falls in line with those efforts as part of our overall recovery that ultimately falls on personal responsibility to keep it moving forward.”
The association is expecting more than 1,000 companies, including major brands and startups in Las Vegas in the 2022 show. The association already has announced General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert as keynote speakers for the show.
CES 2022 will feature new categories showcasing how the industry is evolving, including space tech, food tech and blockchain. The show will highlight advancements in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality, gaming and computing, digital health, automotive and transportation, home entertainment and smart homes.