CES, HIMSS and a handful of other exhibitions here in the US have required or will require all entrants be vaccinated. It is the right thing to do for our stakeholders and industry. At our core, we bring people together. In person. Safely. They should be applauded for their bravery in (stupid) political times where following the science is ridiculed in some circles.
Everyone has been isolated through the pandemic. Expecting communities to gather for the first time – in person - without hugging and handshakes is absurd and not realistic. Expecting our stakeholders not to share meals and drinks after so long apart is incongruous. Expecting people to physically distance from each other on an exhibit floor is illogical. Show floors are loud and it’s hard to hear people from three or even six feet apart. It doesn’t work.
Lalapalooza, a huge concert festival in Chicago, held a couple of weeks ago, had fewer than 300 Covid cases with 375,000 people in attendance. The difference: mandatory vaccinations or negative Covid tests within 72 hours. It proved we can gather together -maskless – safely. We all know the non-vaccinated who were supposed to keep their masks on didn’t. Duh.
Nevada’s governor Sisolak said this week that large indoor events requiring all attendees be vaccinated can go without masks. The Raiders (the US Football team, also located in Las Vegas) said there will be no entry to home games without a vaccine or partial vaccine (one jab). Concert promoters are requiring the same.
New York and other cities are starting to require vaccinations for indoor dining, attending the theatre, etc. It’s not a ‘right’ to be able to dine inside or attend a concert or exhibition. It’s a privilege.
This trend of requiring vaccinations and proof thereof is a good one. It’s about safety and science - not politics, propaganda, and mistruths. Do any of us want an exhibition to become a super-spreader event? No! Definitely not!
Fire prevention, crowd control, and upgraded security checks to keep people safe is part and parcel of producing successful live, in-person expos. Adding Covid vaccinations to the list is a good start for a solid reopening for our whole industry.