InfoComm Says Spiking COVID Cases Mean Masks, 6-Foot Distancing, Will Be Mandatory At October Show
August 12, 2021 by Dave Haynes
The trade association AVIXA has pushed out an update on plans for this fall’s planned InfoComm show that I think most people who were planning to go will greet with one collective, “Oh Crap!”
The show’s organizers are saying the event is still going ahead, but those people planning to attend will now have to wear masks and keep six feet apart come October – regardless of whether or not attendees are fully vaccinated.
It was not all that long ago that the industry was collectively thinking InfoComm was going to be the first big industry trade show for the pro AV and digital signage crowd to get together after more than a year and a half of lockdowns and cancellations.
It had been looking like the October show would come off smaller but somewhat normal in how it looked and worked. InfoComm would have gone off maybe with fewer handshakes, lotsa sanitizer and a percentage of attendees wearing masks.
But despite all the vaccinations and all the public safety messaging, a whole bunch of people, for their various reasons, have decided they don’t need to get jabbed, and COVID cases have massively spiked – particularly in Florida.
In Orlando, home to InfoComm 2021, the rolling 7-day average of new case counts is at 1,261. The state is seeing a huge spike among people – who for reasons that vary from lack of access to a Twilight Zone-level denial that there’s a problem – have not been jabbed.
It is reasonable to suggest most industry people fully expected COVID was going to largely be a very, very bad memory by October. Now AVIXA CEO David Labuskes is saying:
This year has been one filled with both highs and lows, and the anticipation of getting back together in person at InfoComm has absolutely been a highlight for the AVIXA team. That said, as the Delta variant of COVID 19 surges, I want you to know that we are actively addressing updated health and safety protocols to protect all those in attendance.
In light of recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), InfoComm 2021 will now require masks to be worn by all participants including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, and AVIXA staff regardless of COVID 19 vaccination status.
We have re-instituted a six-foot social distancing guideline across the show including the exhibit hall, meeting rooms, and education sessions. We are also evaluating on-site testing, vaccine validation, as well as other safety and precautionary measures that will allow us to get back together in person in the safest environment possible.
With the rapid pace in which we are receiving information, I want to assure you that the team will be developing safety policies and protocols at the same rapid pace. This means you will be receiving proactive communication about new protocols and safety measures as they are available.
The most up to date information is available at www.infocommshow.org/health-safety.
We are nearly 70 days from the kickoff of the show. As you can remember, 70 days ago safety procedures were remarkably different than they are today and are likely to differ by October 23, 2021. Please know that we are doing everything in our power to bring the community together as safely as possible for those who can and want to be there in person.
I look forward to seeing you at InfoComm 2021.
So … the show is going forward, but COVID is going to loom large over the proceedings, and the thinking of everyone from attendees to exhibitors.
I’m supposed to be doing a Sixteen:Nine mixer. I don’t don’t know how that happens when the show’s safety protocols are discouraging people mixing. So … stay tuned there.
I hope the show goes ahead, for a whole bunch of reasons. It’s so maddening to see this playing out as it is, when everything was lined up to get things back to some semblance of normal.
As Labuskes says, a LOT can change in 10 weeks, but realistically a lot of attendees and vendors will need to make final decisions about what they’re going to do a lot sooner than that.
At the moment, Canadians aren’t even allowed in the U.S. for non-essential travel. I’m sure there are plenty of end-arounds that could get people in, but will they want to go? With cases spiking as they are, will industry people in the U.S. feel overly motivated to wedge their way into coach seats on United or Southwest?
This whole thing is exhausting as an attendee and observer. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the folks trying to pull this event together amidst all these changes and lunacy.