VEGAS ROLLS DICE ON EVENT PROTOCOLS

Vaccine verification at major venues has emerged as a coronavirus fighting front in Nevada, with Las Vegas’ biggest trade conference following the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders in announcing they’ll require attendees to prove they are inoculated.

CES gadget show sponsor, the Consumer Technology Association, said it will require attendees in January to be vaccinated to enter venues including the expanded Las Vegas Convention Center, Mandalay Bay and Sands Expo centre.

“We understand vaccines offer us the best hope for stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Gary Shapiro, association president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are taking on our responsibility by requiring proof of vaccination to attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas.”

The announcement came a day after Gov. Steve Sisolak said indoor venues with 4,000 or more attendees will be allowed to opt out of the state’s mask requirements if they opt into a program ensuring that attendees have inoculations.

To date, IPW Las Vegas, the annual US Travel trade show which will take place in the city Sept. 18-22, has not issued a similar edict.

The state vaccination rate topped 60% for the first time this week for people ages 12 and older who have received at least one dose. State health officials say 49.5% have been fully vaccinated. In the Las Vegas area, the figures ticked up a notch to 60.7% and 48.6%.

Nationally in the US, more than 72% of eligible adults have received vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure has lagged in Nevada, home to anti-vaccination and no-mask protests.

“This isn’t a mandate. It’s not a requirement,” the Democratic governor said Monday. “We’re not rolling anything back. What this is about is getting more people vaccinated.”

Following Sisolak’s announcement, the Raiders quickly unveiled their first-in-the-NFL policy to require fans at 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Attendees must provide verification through a CLEAR mobile app and Health Pass feature, starting with a home game Sept. 13.

Sisolak said one dose of a two-dose vaccination will get people in the door, but they will still have to wear face coverings. Fully vaccinated people won’t have to wear masks, he said. He cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The governor said he’d seen photos of unmasked fans at recent soccer and football games and framed his directive as a voluntary option for event organizers who don’t want to enforce mask mandates.

Live Nation, operator of two prominent Las Vegas Strip music venues — House of Blues at Mandalay Bay and Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq Promenade — previously said ticket holders will have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test beginning in October.

The company also partners with Caesars Entertainment to run residency shows at the 4,000-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace and 7,000-seat Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, and with MGM Resorts International for events at the 6,400-seat Park Theater.

CES said it was studying whether to accept proof of a positive antibody test as an alternative to a vaccination record.

A Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority official, Lori Nelson-Kraft, expressed support for the CES decision, calling it a “commitment to reducing the spread of the virus and prioritizing the health and wellness of their exhibitors and attendees.”

The four-day electronic products show attracted more than 180,000 people in January 2020, two months before pandemic shutdowns. It was conducted online in 2021 due to venue closures and travel restrictions. The 2022 conference plans both a digital version and a live event.

 

First published at Travel Industry Today