Amid Variable Delta Spreads, Conventions Rise To Challenge McCormick Venue Conferences With Ease – CBS Chicago
Chicago (CBS) – What a two-month difference.
In mid-July, major conferences and events such as Chicago Auto Show Return to McCormick’s place. We saw big crowds and a few masks, and didn’t think much about it.
But shortly thereafter, the delta type of coronavirus spread, and the world reverted back to strict COVID protocols.
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas brought us back to McCormick’s venue to see how a conference could be held despite the sudden uptick in cases.
The best minds and best tools in 3D printing were recently brought together at McCormick Place. But one of the most popular at the conference was a little simpler.
“Honestly, everyone brought their masks knowing that,” said Angie Zierlong.
The RAPID + TCT . Conference One of the 3D printing industry’s largest conferences – tentatively planned for April. They also planned from the beginning to spread things more this year on the floor of the conference room.
“We designed the floor plan very differently this year with wider walkways,” Zerlong said.
The pandemic forced Zerlong and other organizers to postpone the event to September. Little did they know then that Chicago and the rest of the country would wrestle with the delta variant.
“I would say we’ve put all the measures in place for health and safety, and we’ve allowed things like live broadcasts for those who feel most comfortable viewing and participating in remotely,” Zerlong said.
Organizers said the conference will bring about 3,500 people here to McCormick’s venue over the course of the three-day event.
“People are coming in from out of town,” said Catherine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Lots of people gather at the doors.”
Wallace recommends more safety measures for this event and others like it.
“It would be much safer if they also had vaccine cards and/or a negative COVID test,” she said.
McNicholas asked Zerlong if there were any such requirements in the agreement.
“No, we’re following all CDC guidelines; states, local, but at the moment we don’t have a vaccine mandate,”
Exhibitors say the conference allows them to showcase their products in ways that video can’t.
“We’ve taken the vaccines and put the mask on, and we’re doing everything we can to continue living with this,” said Shai Terim, Markforged CEO. “I don’t think it will go away any time soon.”
But if so.
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The last day of that conference is Wednesday. Organizers say their attendance will end up about 15 percent below pre-pandemic numbers.