By Elizabeth Culliford, Sheila Dang and Paresh Dave
(Reuters) – Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc, Twitter Inc and Pinterest Inc separately said on Tuesday they will not send teams to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month as concerns grow about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Twitter had planned to have some employees attend to participate on panels, but said it has canceled its in-person presence and is exploring what virtual opportunities are possible.
CES in the past has attracted over 180,000 people from around the world to a sprawling set of casinos and convention spaces in Las Vegas, serving as an annual showcase of new trends and gadgets in the technology industry.
The Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, said on Tuesday that the show is going forward from Jan. 5 through Jan. 8. Health precautions will include vaccination requirements, masking and the availability of COVID-19 tests, the association said.
Many companies including Qualcomm Inc, Sony Electronics and Alphabet Inc’s Google and self-driving vehicle unit Waymo have said they are moving forward for now with plans to attend and show off new hardware or host meetings. General Motors Co said on Tuesday that Chief Executive Mary Barra is still scheduled to introduce the U.S. automaker’s electric Silverado pickup truck and discuss company strategy in person at the conference on Jan. 5.
Other companies had long ago planned for virtual presences, among them chipmaker Nvidia Corp, which is having two executives deliver a keynote address by video.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave, Stephen Nellis, Helen Coster, Ben Klayman and Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Matthew Lewis)