The Sydney Royal Easter Show Has Been Cancelled
The Sydney Royal Easter Show has been cancelled following Scott Morrison's advice on mass gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak.
The event organisers made the announcement at a press conference on Friday.
It's the first time the show has been cancelled since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919.
President of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Robert Ryan said it was distressing and disappointing to cancel the Show for 2020.
“There are many people who will be very upset by this decision, and this is the first time the Sydney Royal Easter Show has been cancelled because of a public health emergency since the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919,” Mr Ryan said.
On Friday afternoon Scott Morrison advised the country against any non-essential public events of 500 or more people. He said the new advice would kick in from Monday as Australia works to slow the spread of coronavirus.
"That, of course, doesn't include schools. It doesn't include university lectures. It doesn't mean people getting on public transport or going to airports or things of that nature," Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
Speaking of the Easter Show cancellation, Chief Executive of the RAS Brock Gilmour said the show generates $250 million in economic activity each year and costs the RAS tens of millions of dollars.
He said the organisation was working with the government to minimise the impact on affected stakeholders and businesses.
“As of today, we commence the task of communicating with all our stakeholders and helping them adjust to the reality that the Sydney Royal Easter Show 2020 will not go ahead," he said.
“We are in the process of implementing a number of measures to deal with priority concerns including refunding or holding over competition fees, refunding tickets purchased by the general public and unwinding contracts with hundreds of suppliers.
“The RAS survived the 1919 Spanish Flu pandemic, the Great Depression, World War Two, and we will survive coronavirus and the Show will be as big, bold and exciting as ever in 2021,” Mr Gilmour said.
The cancellation comes after the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic.