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Coronavirus fears see cancellation of Sydney Royal Easter Show

Coronavirus fears see cancellation of Sydney Royal Easter Show
March 13, 2020

Organisers of Sydney's Royal Easter Show say it has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic - the first time in almost a century the show has been abandoned due to public health concerns.

It comes after the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the cancellation of non-essential mass gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday.

Advising that it was very disappointing to have to cancel, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) President, Robert Ryan stated “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.

The show was due to begin on 3rd April with more than 800,000 people expected to attend the 12-day event.

RAS Chief Executive Brock Gilmour said the Show generated more than $250 million in economic activity each year and cancelling it would cost the RAS "tens of millions of dollars".

He said the RAS was in the process of dealing with issues such as refunding tickets and competition fees and unwinding contracts with hundreds of suppliers, which was expected to take weeks.

Gilmour told the ABC “the RAS, we survived the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic, we survived the Great Depression, we survived World War Two and we will survive coronavirus - and the show will be as big bold and exciting as ever in 2021."

In a statement on its website, the RAS said the decision was made "for the safety and wellbeing of our patrons and visitors".

NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said he was "absolutely devastated" by the cancellation but understood it was important to protect public health.

Minister Marshall stated “it's truly heartbreaking for everyone involved and another bitter blow on top of a rough 12 months of drought and bushfires.

"The show is a rare opportunity for farmers to come together, celebrate all that is great about agriculture and share what they do with the city."

Sydney Royal Easter Show image courtesy of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW.

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