LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Several big-name tech companies are pulling out of one of Las Vegas' largest conventions. Amazon, T-Mobile, and several others have announced they are pulling out the in-person convention because of concerns over the omicron variant of COVID-19.
Elaborate set-ups are being built at Absolute Exhibits. Many are to be showcased at CES. It’s a busy time for CEO Todd Koren.
“It’s the largest show that comes to Las Vegas, and it’s a great way to kick off each year," Koren said.
He’s building exhibits for 20 clients from all over the world who all plan to be at CES, despite concerns over omicron. Koren says his clients feel confident in the CES health protocols.
“Their need to exhibit is outweighing their fears. I think everyone knows CES is doing a great job to make it a safe event,” he said.
CES officials say attendees must be vaccinated and mask up indoors, and testing will be available. However, some companies are deciding to pull out. T-Mobile released a statement saying they're prioritizing the safety of their workers. Koren says each exhibitor has the right to make the best decision for their company.
RELATED STORY: T-Mobile to 'significantly limit' in-person participation at CES
“Everything in life is risk and reward and for them, the risk is probably not worth the reward,” he said.
The majority of companies are sticking with it. CES says 42 exhibitors have recently pulled out, making up only 7% of the exhibit floor with 60 new exhibitors added since Friday. Koren says for many companies, in-person interaction is needed to build lasting networks. He says exhibitors weighing the risks to go or not is now the new normal.
“In-person events and wanting to do things is just going to continue to be a part of our lives and we now just have to do it a little bit smarter,” he said.
Koren says his employees will be masked when they set up exhibits for CES and encourages people to get vaccinated. He says so far, all his clients will be in Las Vegas for the trade show.