Gloucester Show may go on in 2021

Effie Crawley being awarded Best in Show in Floral Art Design by judge Mary Sweeney at the 2019 Gloucester Show. Photo Scott Calvin
Effie Crawley being awarded Best in Show in Floral Art Design by judge Mary Sweeney at the 2019 Gloucester Show. Photo Scott Calvin

It's looking hopeful that the Gloucester Show will go ahead in 2021 after the NSW government's recent announcement about new COVID-safe guidelines for the new year.

The guidelines indicate that shows can go ahead from January with up to 5000 people able to attend at any given time, depending on the size of the venue.

And it's good news for the Gloucester AH&P committee who have been working through several different potential plans for how to proceed in a COVID environment.

According to a spokesperson, the committee wasn't set to make a decision about next year's plan for the show until December, however this announcement means this could be made sooner.

Before the committee can give the event the green light, it needs to have a look at the regulations and what it will entail in regard to volunteer numbers and reporting requirements.

"The hope is to be able to hold the show in its traditional format but that will depend on the restrictions and what that means in regard to the volunteers," a committee spokesperson said.

At this stage, show organisers will have to complete a COVID-safe Event Plan, ensure social distancing within the grounds, control access at entry points to minimise crowding, and limit the number of attendees depending on venue size with one person per four square metres.

Organisers are also being encouraged to use the Service NSW COVID-safe QR codes to enable safe management of crowd numbers and contact tracing.

Some of these requirements may be an issue for the Gloucester Show given how many people purchase tickets at the gate, the number of attendees who aren't QR code savvy, and the amount of volunteers who will be needed to manage the social distancing requirements.

Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen said the NSW government will be working closely with organisers and industry associations to ensure COVID-safe measures are in place for each show.

"Our local country shows are one of the most important local and regional social events on our calendar and draws crowds from across the regions, giving local businesses exposure and keeping money flowing through our town - and I have no doubt it will give our towns a much needed boost," Mr Johnsen said.

"These shows are the beating heart of our rural and regional communities and visiting a show is one of the highlights of living in the bush. They boost business and community spirit and it is important that people can enjoy these events safely and responsibly."

For the Gloucester Show committee, the feeling is positive about forging ahead in the new year, so much so that they've already updated the schedules with next year's dates, earmarking Friday March 19 and Saturday March 20, 2021.

The NSW government is working with the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to explore options for the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Guidelines and checklists for country shows will be availble online at www.nsw.gov.au/COVID-19