Omicron spurs cancellations, delays: Grammys, Toy Fair NY and other events impacted

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With COVID-19 cases rising in many places across the US, a growing number of event organizers are changing plans for the sake of health and safety. The latest this week: the Toy Association canceled its upcoming Toy Fair 2022, a massive show dedicated to toys and entertainment. It was scheduled to kick off in New York on Feb. 19.

At the start of January, as health officials worked through a backlog from over the holidays, the US reported more than a million new COVID cases in a single day, spurred by the omicron variant of COVID-19. Some available research suggests omicron may lead to less severe illness, though officials say it still could make a large number of people sick at once, which would overwhelm health care systems. 

Earlier in January, several large tech companies, including T-Mobile and Meta, scaled back their plans for CES 2022. Last week, the Sundance Film Festival said it’ll change its event from in-person to virtual because of the increase in health risks. 

Here are some of the latest postponements and cancellations:

  • Grammys The US Recording Academy postponed its Jan. 31 show at the Arena, formerly Staples Center, “after careful consideration and analysis.” It has yet to provide a new date for the awards event. 
  • Sundance Film Festival The festival will transition to a virtual show. It’s set for Jan. 20. 
  • Toy Fair New York 2022 The toy and entertainment event was canceled for the second year in a row due to concerns over COVID-19. It was scheduled to take place Feb. 19-22 at the Javits Center in New York.
  • Cruise voyages Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line canceled some sailings scheduled for the beginning of January. On Dec. 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans to avoid cruise travel, regardless of their vaccination status. 
  • RSA Out of an “abundance of caution,” the RSA Conference is being moved from February to June 6-9.
  • NHL The National Hockey League began its annual leaguewide holiday break on Dec. 22, two days earlier than scheduled, amid a rise in positive COVID-19 cases among players. As of Dec. 21, 50 games had been postponed this season, according to the NHL.
  • Governors Awards The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences postponed the Governors Awards, which honor lifetime achievements within the film industry. The event was scheduled to take place on Jan. 15 in Hollywood. A new date hasn’t been announced.

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