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Outdoor Retailer’s semiannual trade show is set to take place in Denver next week, from January 26-28. Given the recent transmission rates of the Omicron variant, however, some exhibitors and attendees say they’ve opted out of the event due to safety concerns.
Two weeks before the Snow Show, Merrell announced it would no longer exhibit, citing Covid concerns. A recent Outside Business Journal poll, which gathered responses from nearly 900 people either exhibiting at or attending the show, showed that more than 25 percent have similarly changed their plans due to Covid spikes. More than 40 percent of the poll respondents said they never planned to attend the show, while 20 percent said they wouldn’t miss it. Twelve percent of respondents said they’re still unsure of their plans.
Despite hesitation in some quarters, OR communications director Lisa Ramsperger is reassuring exhibitors and attendees that the Snow Show has all of the proper Covid protocols in place.
“We understand that not everybody is able to make it to the show this time around,” Ramsperger said. “We’re doing everything we can to keep everybody safe and create a safe environment on the show floor.”
Ramsperger also emphasized the fact that there are still over 400 exhibitors planning to attend next week, according to OR’s current list.
Safety at the show
Per OR’s current safety rules, masks will be required at all times within the Colorado Convention Center, where the event is hosted. The show layout will be more spacious than in past iterations, to allow for social distancing. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the Convention Center, and high-traffic areas will be disinfected often.
Exhibitors have also been issued best practices for interacting with attendees. There will be OR staff and volunteers at the Convention Center to monitor Covid safety and address any concerns. The full list of Covid protocols for the Snow Show can be found on OR’s website.
Earlier this month, OR’s parent company, Emerald, hosted Surf Expo in Orlando, Fla. Ramsperger noted that the learning from that event has been applied to the upcoming Snow Show.
In all, OR leaders are optimistic, and hope to recreate the positive experience they say attendees had during the last show, in August.
“Everybody who was at OR Summer had a great experience and was happy to be back,” Ramsperger said. “We expect that to be the same for Snow Show.”