LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — CES, one of the world’s biggest technology conferences is going virtual. The highly anticipated conference will be a virtual event in January due to the coronavirus pandemic. The news is a reversal from May when organizers said it would go on as a smaller gathering in Las Vegas.

The announcement Tuesday is another blow for Las Vegas and the local economy, which, like all other U.S. tourist destinations, is suffering as people stay home or vacation locally. More than 170,00 people attended the four-day show this year in January, before COVID-19 began to spread across the U.S.

The Consumer Electronic Show brings more than $280 million to the Las Vegas valley’s local economy, and more than 170,000 people visit the city during this convention.

The cancellation of this event will definitely impact many jobs in the convention and hospitality industry. Governor Steve Sisolak took to Twitter to say that he respects the difficult decision the organizers of CES had to make while thanking them for their partnership.

The governor added he looks forward to welcoming them back in January 2022.

From hotel reservations to catering, each trade show cancellation is a lot of money Las Vegas misses out on.

So what does the future hold for the convention industry?

CES was supposed to be the first event at the new expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill says it is unfortunate the show isn’t happening but he also says he understands why. He released the following statement:

“We know the decision to move CES to a virtual show in January was extremely difficult for CTA leadership. While it’s disappointing we won’t be welcoming CES as the first show inside our West Hall expansion, we certainly respect their decision in light of the impact the virus has caused throughout the world.  We deeply value our 40-year partnership with CES and look forward to welcoming the show and their loyal attendees back to Las Vegas in 2022.”

Steve Hill, CEO Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority

The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty within the industry, causing thousands of people who rely on the shows to make a living to worry.

“It is like oh, ‘we lost another one that is wonderful, now what?’ It is just, polish your resume, hope you can get something to keep the lights on,” said Michael Mckeen, a former stagehand.

CES 2021 is going virtual is hurting convention workers and companies relying on tradeshow business.

“[I’m] disappointed for sure, disappointed, said Dale Morgan, CEO of ASTOUND Group.

ASTOUND Group designs and builds exhibits for tradeshows. The group said cancellations of conventions and tradeshows in person like the CES one forced them to change their way of business.

“We have had five months now to take it all in, to make appropriate changes given the inevitable,” Morgan said.

No shows are happening at the Las Vega Convention Center through September. However, as of right now, SEMA, the specialty automotive parts tradeshow is still happening in November, but with changes.

“Incorporating one-way isles and doing a daily health query and a passive temperature check system — those are the types of things that we are going to be doing,” said Tom Gattuso, Vice President of events at SEMA.

Gattuso says they are also working to move more exhibits outside. “We understand the value that it has for the City of Las Vegas and all the people that work throughout the city on our show, but our main concern has to be creating an environment that people are comfortable in.”

Morgan says show cancellations forced them to open up to more industries outside of conventions.

“We knew the paths that would be less effective, so we refocused our efforts around those lines of business,” Morgan said.

According to SEMA’s vice president, exhibitor attendance is down, and that was expected, but they still have enough to put on the show, and while also giving hope to those who want to get back to work.