With Omicron on the Rise, Nor-Shipping Postpones Show for a Later Date
With the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 driving a surge of infections in Europe, multiple countries are rethinking their rules for social gatherings. Under the circumstances, Nor-Shipping - a leading shipping industry conference held in Oslo - announced late Monday that it has decided to postpone its in-person exhibition program for the second time.
The Nor-Shipping conference occurs every other year, and the latest edition was originally scheduled for June 2021. However, Norway's public health officials kept COVID-19 social distancing protocols in effect well into 2021, prompting the show's organizers to delay until January 10-13, 2022. As recently as last week, Nor-Shipping's executives suggested that this new date would still hold, but the recent spike in Omicron cases in Norway prompted another deferral for the 50,000-person event.
On Monday, the Norwegian government announced new guidelines to address the rising spread of Omicron. These include official recommendations for residents to avoid public transport for events; a mask requirement for indoor events; the closure of arcades and indoor play areas; and a halt on alcohol service at indoor and outdoor venues. All of these rules will apply through January 15.
“In a very fluid pandemic situation, with rapidly rising infection rates here in Norway and elsewhere, we believe the time has come to postpone our January program and try and create some clarity for our exhibitors and participants,” said Nor-Shipping Director Sidsel Norvik. "Our job is to serve and support this great business community, and we’re committed to doing so in a safe, responsible and considered manner."
Norvik said that her organization will be considering options for the best route forward over the next several days, and a final decision about the next Nor-Shipping will be released later this week. Nor-Shipping and its parent company, NOVA Spektrum, are in talks with local authorities, exhibitors and conference delegates to determine next steps.