It’s deja vu all over again.
After we managed to squeeze a few auto shows — Chicago, Detroit/Motor Bella, and Los Angeles — in during 2021, we’re back in a place of scheduling uncertainty and possible event cancellations due to the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Yes, it’s true that we still are learning about Omicron, and there are some reports that it may be milder than Delta, but it also appears to be far more transmissible, and even if a small percentage of folks get severe disease, well a small percent of a very large number ends up being a large number.
More to the point of this piece — auto shows aren’t exempt from local restrictions. With Ontario putting out provincial restrictions that cap indoor venues that can hold more than 1,000 people to 50 percent capacity — and not giving the restrictions an end date as of now — it was likely easier, from a logistics standpoint, for the show to shut it all down now, before any automaker committed resources to building a booth/stand and started shipping cars.
“It is with great regret that we have to make this announcement, but the health and wellbeing of our community needs to be our first priority,” Jason Campbell, General Manager of the Canadian International AutoShow, said in a statement. “What has been clear over the past few months in our discussions with our consumers and our manufacturer partners is how much they all value our in-person live AutoShow event experience, and how hungry they all were for it to return.
“We had been working hard in recent months for the AutoShow to return in a big way, but in light of the recent developments, and in consultation and agreement with our manufacturer and sponsor partners, we have agreed that it’s best to set 2022 plans aside to best support the health and safety of our community. We want to thank all of our AutoShow partners, sponsors, exhibitors and consumers for their interest in coming back in 2022, but can assure them we’ll be back bigger than ever in 2023 for what will be our 50th year.”
Toronto was slated to take place later in February than the Chicago Auto Show, but as of now both that show and January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are still on.
This is a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven’t done so and to get boosted if you’re vaccinated and haven’t done so. Before you accuse me of getting political, let me just say that I’m not being political when I recommend you get a vaccine that’s safer than COVID and effective against severe disease, if not always against infection. It’s no more political than if I told you to put a band-aid on a bleeding cut.
Hopefully, between continued mask-wearing, more vaccination, boosting, and the advent of anti-viral pills, this show will be the last to be binned.
[Image: Toronto Auto Show]
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