CES still on, Davos postponed: Conventions industry rebound in doubt amid omicron

The National Retail Federation, however, said Tuesday that its “Big Show,” scheduled to take place at the Javits Convention Center in New York City from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18, is still a go.

The leading trade group for the retail industry is asking that all attendees be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and wear masks at all times in the building. NRF is also advising attendees to test themselves for Covid at home before traveling to Javits. The group said it will be offering PCR tests at the convention center during the event.

“Like all of our attendees, we are closely monitoring the external health environment,” said NRF President and Chief Executive Matt Shay, in a statement. “We will continue to work with local, state and federal health officials to ensure we meet and exceed safety guidelines and mandates.”

In a separate email sent to speakers who are lined up for “Big Show,” NRF said as long as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York state and Manhattan deem it safe to hold the event, it will proceed as planned.

“We do not have plans at this time to go virtual, but if that decision is made, it would likely be on a delayed basis given the complexity of that pivot,” NRF said in the email, which was seen by CNBC.

The Consumer Electronics Show is also still on track to be held in Las Vegas from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8, according to event organizers.

A spokesperson for the event said that CES has received several thousand new registrants since last week, even amid omicron fears. CES is requiring attendees be fully vaccinated and wear masks. It’s also lowering capacity and keeping some social-distancing measures in place.

“We are confident that attendees and exhibitors will have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event,” the spokesperson said.

Still, major tech companies including Amazon, Meta Platforms, Twitter and Pinterest said they won’t be sending teams to CES this year due to Covid fears. But others like Google, Qualcomm and General Motors say they’re still on track to attend and show off new products.

A representative for the Las Vegas Convention Center, where CES is slated to be held, said there are currently about 45 trade shows with at least 5,000 attendees on the books at the venue for next year.