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: CES cut one day short due to health protocols

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The Consumer Technology Association late Friday said it was shortening the massive tech gathering CES by one day as “an additional safety measure” as the omicron strain of COVID-19 rages across the country.

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The nation’s biggest tech conference was originally scheduled to run Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, but it will now close on Friday, Jan. 7, amid an avalanche of criticism of its taking place at all.

Some 153 companies have marked their participation as “DO,” or digital only, in the official CES exhibitor directory, as first reported by Protocol. 

Despite the in-person absence of nearly every major tech vendor, the show is scheduled to kick off Wednesday. Among the more than 150 companies that have decided to attend only digitally are Intel Corp. INTC; Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD; Qualcomm Inc. QCOM; Nvidia Corp. NVDA; International Business Machines Corp. IBM; Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL GOOG; Meta Platforms Inc., né Facebook FB; Microsoft Corp. MSFT; HP Inc. HPQ; BMW BMW, -0.80% ; Lenovo Group Ltd. HK:992; AT&T Inc. T; Procter & Gamble Co. PG; and Panasonic Corp. JP:6752.

Those who still intend to attend — the CTA expects a crowd of about half the approximately 170,000 people and 4,400 exhibitors who took part in CES’s last in-person gathering in early 2020 — say they are confident every precaution has been taken to ensure their safety, including proof-of-vaccination requirements and the availability of rapid test kits. Next week’s show is a hybrid event with a physical show in Las Vegas and a digital component for those unable or unwilling to attend in person.

Read more: Some hardy souls are determined to attend CES despite surge in omicron

“CES will and must go on,” CTA Chief Executive Gary Shapiro wrote in a LinkedIn post. “It will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. Certainly, it will be different from previous years. It may be messy. But innovation is messy. It is risky and uncomfortable.”

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