CES tech fair opens under pandemic shadow

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) throws open its doors to thousands Wednesday in Las Vegas despite surging Covid-19 cases in the United States, as one of the world's largest trade fairs tries to get back to business. CES tech fair opens under pandemic shadowThe Consumer Electronics Show (CES) throws open its doors to thousands Wednesday in Las Vegas despite surging Covid-19 cases in the United States, as one of the world’s largest trade fairs tries to get back to business.

After a series of high-profile companies like Amazon and Google cancelled over climbing virus risk, the return of the in-person convention was cast in doubt.

But organizers cited their vaccine and mask requirements while insisting the show — with its mix of journalists, entrepreneurs and tech lovers from around the world — had to go on.

“Despite a few well-publicized cancellations amongst our exhibitors, we have over 2,200 exhibitors here at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, and all of them are counting on us to move forward,” Steve Koenig, a vice president from the group that runs the convention.

“Why? Well, because these businesses are looking for investors, they’re looking for partners, they’re looking to conduct business,” he added.

Some health experts have voiced caution that people may not universally respect the mask mandate, and noted that daily testing would be a useful tool to keep the spread in check.

The event has been cut back by a day to end Friday, and the scale of the show will be sharply reduced with fewer than half the roughly 4,500 exhibitors that turned up for the last in-person edition in 2020 — just before pandemic lockdowns hit the United States.

Badge-wearing attendees pulling suitcases have begun trickling in, some with a bit of trepidation.

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