Sydney’s Royal Easter Show has been cancelled amid coronavirus fears.
Organisers are “heartbroken” over the decision, made this afternoon after the Australian Government announced that they were warning against any events of more than 500 people.
The show was to be held from April 3 to 14. It is the biggest annual ticketed event in Australia with 900,000 people attending in 2019.
Last year 1.6 million showbags were sold and 50,000 scones munched through.
It’s only the third time the show has been cancelled, the other times were during the Spanish flu pandemic an the Great Depression.
Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) chief executive Brock Gilmour said they survived those events and they would get through the virus.
“We will survive coronavirus and the show will be as big, bold and exciting as ever in 2021,” he said.
Mr Gilmour said cancelling the show would cost the RAS tens of millions dollars.
It generates $250 million in economic activity each year.
He said they had to cancel the show because they couldn’t guarantee the public’s safety.
“It’s just a terrible situation,” he said.
He said exhibitors would feel the pain.
“They will be hurt by this,” he said.
President of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Robert Ryan OAM said it was distressing and disappointing to cancel the show.
“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.
Organisers are in the process of working through refunds.
Meanwhile, the Sydney Writers Festival – which launched its program just last night – has now suspended ticket sales.
In a statement, festival boss Chrissy Sharp said the move was based on advice from Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy.
NSW had its biggest jump in coronavirus cases today, with the total now standing at 92.