Us automaker General Motors, Alphabet Inc's Google, and Waymo, its self-driving car technology subsidiary, announced on Thursday that due to rising COVID-19 infection rates, Therefore, they will not attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month.
Gm CEO Mary Barra was scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the annual event on Jan. 5, and the automaker had planned to unveil its Silverado electric pickup truck for the first time during CES. Ms. Barra will be speaking and demonstrating new models remotely, a company spokesman said.
"We have decided to participate in an all-digital manner at CES 2022 in January," the US carmaker said in a statement. We will continue with our plan to share our major corporate news on January 5, including the launch of the Chevrolet Silverado electric vehicle."
A Google spokesperson also said in a statement: "After careful consideration, we have decided not to be present at CES 2022." He added that Google would continue to participate in the event in a virtual way.
Waymo said in a blog post that it would also like to participate in the Las Vegas event virtually if possible. In the past, CES has attracted more than 180,000 people from around the world, who gather to discuss emerging technologies and party all night with business partners.
TikTok, which is owned by Bytedance, said it would host a virtual event for its partners and advertisers. Intel also said Thursday that it would minimize the number of people attending CES. "The health and safety of our employees, partners and customers is always a priority," the chipmaker said. For this CES show, we are prioritizing specific numbers and minimizing the number of people on site."
Including Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Twitter, Lenovo, AT& T and Amazon were among several other companies that announced earlier this week that they would not be attending CES. The companies say,
Out of concern for the spread of Omicron, they will not send staff to the show.
CES officials say the event will still run from January 5 to 8 and that organizers will put in place "robust security measures," including requiring all exhibitors to be vaccinated, all on-site personnel to wear masks, and everyone to be tested for COVID-19.
"Our mission remains to bring the industry together and make CES digitally accessible to those who can't attend in person," organizers said in a statement. CES 2022 will move forward as important innovations for world health and safety, mobility and problem solving will be showcased at this event."
They added that although they had received 42 cancellation applications from exhibitors since Thursday, that represented less than 7 percent of the total number of exhibitors, and that the fair had added 60 companies.
The Omicron variant was first detected last month in South Africa and Hong Kong, sparking global concern about the fast-spreading variant. In places where the highly contagious Omicron has spread, novel coronavirus infection rates have soared, triggering new restrictions in many countries.