Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, T-Mobile drop CES plans due to concerns about COVID-19

Participants go to the Sands Expo and Convention Center during the 2020 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA January 7, 2020. REUTERS / Steve Marcus

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December 21 (Reuters) – Amazon Inc, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O), Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Pinterest Inc (PINS.N) all said Tuesday they will not be sending layers to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month as concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant grow.

Amazon and its smart home device Ring said they would not have an on-site presence at CES due to the rapidly changing situation and uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, Bloomberg News reported late Tuesday.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment outside of business hours.

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The US wireless operator and conference sponsor T-Mobile (TMUS.O) also said that the vast majority of the contingent would no longer go, and that the CEO would not hold a keynote speech in person or virtually.

The other companies had not planned large personal gatherings at the fair.

“While we are confident that CES organizers will take comprehensive measures to protect personal entrants, we prioritize the safety of our team and other entrants with this decision,” T-Mobile said.

CES has recently attracted more than 180,000 people from around the world to a comprehensive set of casinos and conference rooms in Las Vegas, and served as an annual showcase for new trends and gadgets in the technology industry.

The Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, said Tuesday that the show runs from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8. Health precautions will include vaccination requirements, masking and the availability of COVID-19 tests, the association said.

Twitter had planned to let some employees participate to participate in panels. Both Twitter and Facebook said they are now exploring virtual possibilities.

Pinterest, before they canceled, had planned a scaled-down meeting area for its sales and partner teams from previous years.

Many companies, including Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), Sony Electronics (6758.T) and Alphabet Incs (GOOGL.O) Google and the self-driving vehicle unit Waymo have said they are moving forward with plans to participate and showcase new hardware or host meetings.

General Motors Co. (GM.N) said Tuesday that CEO Mary Barra is still scheduled to introduce the U.S. automaker’s electric Silverado pickup and discuss the company’s strategy in person at the January 5 conference.

Other companies had long ago planned virtual presentations, among them the chip manufacturer Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), which allows two managers to give a keynote speech via video.

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Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in Birmingham, England and Sheila Dang in Dallas Further reporting by Paresh Dave, Stephen Nellis, Helen Coster, Ben Klayman, Dawn Chmielewski and Rhea Binoy Editing Aurora Ellis, Matthew Lewis and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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