However, the elephant that is named COVID-19 will be in every room for those of us — vaccinated or not — who travel and assemble with large groups. In Ohio alone, the state where I reside, more than 4,000 new cases were reported each of the last two days.
Our daughter, a nurse practitioner at an area hospital, said the situation is almost as bad as it has ever been.
Caution, of course, should be the operative word for everyone. We can't be too careful.
The industry's big event, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, commonly known as SEMA, and its partner, the Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo, or AAPEX, is scheduled for Nov. 2-5 in Las Vegas.
On Nov. 1, the day before the show opens, the Tire Industry Association will be celebrating its 100th anniversary with a series of events, including a nighttime gala at the Cosmopolitan.
At this point, we have heard no plans that organizers of any of those events will postpone, as they did a year ago.
SEMA says this on its website, in all caps: THE SHOW IS A GO.
However, on Aug. 26, AAPEX announced attendees will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to attend the event, to be held at the Venetian Expo & Caesars Forum.
SEMA, at this writing, has not followed suit, although it cautioned that the "COVID landscape and state and local requirements are changing week to week," and that it expects to receive more specific guidelines for November. Nevada currently requires masks to be worn for all indoor events, subject to change. The state does not, however, require proof of vaccination in order to attend indoor events.
At least anecdotally, the industry appears to be strongly in favor of resuming travel.
Our resident employment expert and columnist, Mike Cioffi, recently posted a poll on LinkedIn.
He asked his followers, with SEMA and other auto trade shows ramping up, whether they feel comfortable going, given the spread of the Delta variant.
The poll garnered 370 votes: 61% said they feel comfortable traveling; 39% did not.
Mike said he was "shocked" by the results, noting that more than three-fourths of his connections are tire industry related sales reps.
"When I speak to folks on the phone, it's a 50/50 — if I had to guess — on the reaction I am going to get," Mike wrote in an email. "It's usually pretty polarizing as well."
However, the results of the poll seem to bear out. There is no doubt crowds will be down at industry events for months to come, but I expect the majority will continue to live life as close to normal as possible, myself included.
See you on the road.
* * * *
Just a quick shout-out to our staff for the outstanding work it did in assembling the 36th annual Global Tire Report.
Managing Editor David Manley, Designer Michael McCrady and Senior Reporter Kathy McCarron did an outstanding job in assembling all of the information in this issue. Thank you for your work and dedication.
The bulk of the credit, however, goes to Special Projects Reporter Bruce Davis, the driving force of our material. I could write at length about all of Bruce's contributions, but I'll leave it at this.
When you're perusing the numbers and the charts and the stories, know that Bruce had a major role in compiling them and presenting them for our readers. He is a true asset to our publication, as well as the tire industry itself. Thanks, Bruce.
Don't forget to sign up to hear Bruce and Dave on our special Global Tire Report livestream, to be held Sept. 13 at 2 p.m., in collaboration with our friends at Rubber News, our sister publication.
You won't want to miss it.