LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Las Vegas Convention Center has been convention-less for almost 15 months. But on June 8, that all changes, when tens of thousands arrive for the first large-scale tradeshow to return to the city, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

Labor unions are getting the calls for workers to begin load-in for World of Concrete 2021, the first large-scale convention to return.

"For a lot of these people, [this is] the first show in well over a year," said Tommy Blitsch, Secretary Treasurer, Teamsters Local 631.

All eyes will be on the event.

"Other large tradeshow cities around the United States, Boston, Chicago, Southern California, they're watching," said Blitsch.

Usually about 55,000 people attend, and while 2021 numbers aren't confirmed, Blitsch estimates this year we'll welcome about half of that.

"I'm thinking 50%, 60% of what we normally see for this show."

That's more than 30,000 people. 500 Teamster Local 631 members are slated to work it.

"About a third of our members," said Blitsch.

Convention center workers will get their jobs back too. We spoke with Brian Yost, Chief Operating Officer for Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

"We are well on the way to having all of our employees back, and that makes me incredibly happy," said Yost.

And while Las Vegas is no stranger to a wager, the pressure's on for a safe and healthy event.

"I would say that the only concern that exists is whether or not, ya know, for some reason, the people who are attending, for some reason come in and turn World of Concrete into a super-spreader event locally," said Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow, Responsible Gaming, University of Nevada Las Vegas.

But the Strip expert also said he feels it's very unlikely a super-spreader will take place, especially with vaccination rates so high among hotel staff on the Strip. Blitsch agrees.

"We're 14 months into this, 15 months into this, and I think people know what they need to do to be safe, and what not to do to be safe," said Blitsch.

Blitsch added that his union's convention workers will do health questionnaires, temperature screening, and extra hand-washing.

Masks will be recommended, but not required, for staff and attendees at the event, according to World of Concrete's website. Vaccination status won't be checked.

But the Las Vegas Convention Center is implementing their own technology to address the threat of airborne transmission.

"We've changed the air filtration throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center to one of the highest filtration ratings available, to ensure that the indoor air quality is the best that it can be," said Yost.


Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas on March 12, 2020.

And in the $11 billion local industry that is conventions, "tradeshows are really the economic driver of this city," said Blitsch.

The second-hand impacts of a successful event could be all-encompassing.

"It's going to bring back confidence," said Blitsch. "This is the final piece of us opening our city back up, I really believe that."

How well this event goes doesn't just affect Vegas' jobs and economy, but future tradeshows too. Consumer Electronics Show, which usually attracts 180,000 people, is currently planning to return in person to Las Vegas early next year.

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