The cancelling of non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people comes as the Fassifern enters its traditional event season.
The announcement on Friday by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison that large organised events would be cancelled from Monday to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus is likely to lead to the cancellation of at least one local Show, the Clydesdale Spectacular, and dependent on the extension of the ban, possibly some of the Eat Local Week functions.
The first of the events in jeopardy is the Boonah High Formal Street Parade on Thursday, April 2, as thousands of spectators are normally drawn into High Street to watch the Year 12s make their way into their dinner at the Cultural Centre.
“I feel desperately disappointed for the Boonah High Seniors and the community as it is one of our premier events,” said President of the Boonah Show Society, John Brent, as he spoke of the talks he has held about the 2020 Show.
“In the last few days we had to start taking stock of what the immediate future might look like with the continued spread of the virus,” John said.
“I’d already spoken with some of the Executive members and one of the matters we had put in place was not to enter into any contracts yet.”
He understood the need for the government to implement the ban, which at this point is a recommendation not an order.
“I have empathy and sympathy for the people and businesses caught up in this decision.
“Certainly for the Boonah Show there will be financial implications and we need to begin to start working through them,” John said.
“We must show leadership at the local level - wherever possible we must work to limit the impact on our community, that must be our main concern.”
The first issue the Show Society is facing is the sponsorship that has already been received in the lead up to the Show.
“At this time of year planning is significantly completed for the Show in May but now we must begin to work through what must be done,” John said.
“We will be approaching all the people and businesses who have already paid their sponsorship to ascertain whether they require a refund or are prepared to see it held over for a bigger and successful Show in 2021.”
John emphasised that on a national basis, everything must be done to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“But now on a local level our consideration must be for our community.
“How can we lighten the impact?
“Perhaps the Show Society could even look at an alternative proposal timed for much later in the year - perhaps a big community celebration of a change in circumstance?”
Kalbar Show Society President Neil Goetsch says he is hoping that it will be back to “business as usual” by his Show date, late in June.
“We have a management meeting on Monday week so we’ll certainly be discussing what we should do and it will be the committee’s decision.
“But for the moment we’ll continue to plan for our event.”
The Clydesdale Spectacular management team are currently reserving their decision on the mid June event.
“We’re monitoring the situation certainly,” said Greta Stanfield.
“We’re still considering what decision we should make but I’d say there’s a high possibility that we’ll have to cancel the Spectacular.”
The ban on organised gatherings of more than 500 people to slow the advance of the COVID-19 virus will have a far reaching impact on local events. Boonah Show Society President John Brent talks of the actions his executive are discussing. "Our concern must be to lessen the impact on our community."