Coronavirus forces cancellation of another Clarence event
FOR the first time in its 154 year history, the Grafton Show has been cancelled due to pandemic.
The NSW Government's ban of events of more than 500 people in response to the coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of another Clarence Valley event, with the Grafton Show announcing they will not go ahead this year.
Grafton Show president Rex Green said the safety of the community was the Grafton Show's main focus and government regulation forced the hand of organisers to cancel the event.
"We did think about running the show later on the year but the trouble is we don't know how long the virus will last," Mr Green said.
"An option was to look at the northern run of shows but in the end we decided to leave it following year.
"One of the issues is a lot of our stewards are aged people, and we certainly wouldn't want to risk their health, and we wouldn't want to risk the health of the community either. The safety of the community is paramount."
In the past the Grafton Show has been forced into cancellation by flooding, however Mr Green said this was the first time the show had succumbed to a virus that he knew of that.
With organising the Grafton Show a mammoth undertaking, Mr Green said the committee felt it was important to have some clarity regarding the show, which was scheduled for May this year.
"It's a big event when you think about it, it's a huge thing to organise a show that has many different sections, it's like having a dozen events at once," he said.
"Work goes into the horse section, woodchops and the pavilion just to name a few.
"It's a huge effort to put the show on, but with government regulations and crowd restrictions, we can't really go ahead."
Mr Green said he had an appreciation of the impact coronavirus, with his son Greg contracting COVID-19 in the United States, where he calls Atlanta home.
"(Greg) said the worst thing about virus was the fever he had," Mr Green said.
"Apart from that he said he felt all right, it didn't take him long to recover but thankfully he is fit and healthy, but he said it knocked him around for a couple of days.
"The worst thing about what's happening in the US is that they're so unprepared and unorganised and that's not what we want to happen here."
Mr Green said the Grafton Show committee's focus will now be on next year's event, as well as exploring options for future fundraising events later in the year.
"The hardest thing now is that we don't know how long the coronavirus and the restrictions will last," he said.