December 7, 2022

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T-Mobile, Amazon, iHeartRadio and Others Cancel Plans Over COVID Surge

The Consumer Technology Association is still proceeding with plans to host CES 2022 in Las Vegas next month. But a sharp rise in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant of the virus has prompted several companies to drop out of the tech confab.

T-Mobile, Amazon, iHeartRadio, Facebook parent Meta and Twitter are among the companies that have canceled their CES 2022 plans. Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2022 is slated to take place in Vegas and online Jan. 5-8.

“After careful consideration and discussion, T-Mobile has made the difficult decision to significantly limit our in-person participation at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show,” the carrier announced Tuesday.

T-Mobile said it will continue to serve as a CES sponsor and title sponsor of the DRL Championship Race but “the vast majority of our team will not be traveling to Las Vegas.” In addition, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert will no longer deliver a keynote in-person or virtually; he had been scheduled to deliver a Jan. 5 keynote focused on 5G wireless services.

“I’m sorry we’ll miss seeing everyone at CES this year, but we are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees,” Sievert tweeted on Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, Amazon said it will “no longer have an on-site presence at CES,” citing “the quickly shifting situation and uncertainty around the Omicron variant.” Meta scrapped plans to exhibit at CES 2022, and Twitter and Pinterest said they will not send personnel to the show. In addition, iHeartRadio canceled its CES concert featuring Swedish House Mafia, which was scheduled to take place Jan. 6 at Area15.

CTA expects attendance to be down 50% or more from previous levels. CES 2020, the last time the convention was held in Las Vegas, drew 170,000 attendees. The trade group says it has taken every precaution to keep attendees safe.

“We are actively tracking the emerging news and science around the new Omicron variant. We will continue to monitor and adjust our plans and health protocols as necessary,” CTA says in a message on the CES site.

Last Friday, CTA announced that it had booked more than 2,100 exhibitors, including AMD, Hisense, Hyundai, IBM, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Oracle, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and Sony.

CTA says CES attendees must be “fully vaccinated against COVID-19” and provide proof of vaccination to pick up a badge and access the in-person event in Las Vegas. The show will offer complimentary COVID-19 rapid testing kits on site, and CTA recommends that showgoers get tested for COVID prior to departing for Las Vegas and within 24 hours of entering a CES venue.

Masks are required for large indoor events in Nevada, meaning that CES attendees will need to be masked to visit booths and indoor exhibit facilities, in conference and keynote rooms, and aboard CES shuttle buses and other CES transportation services.