Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter announced today that country shows will be able to return in 2021 with the NSW Nationals in Government announcing COVID safe guidelines that will allow locals and visitors to once again attend country shows.
Mr Johnsen said that local shows are a proud tradition that many communities look forward to every year and the green light to bring these cherished events back is great news.
“Much of our region is in drought recovery for the first time in years so by holding our local shows once again our farmers will have the opportunity to showcase everything from the amazing food and fibre they grow to their prize winning bulls or family jam recipe,” Mr Johnsen said.
“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.
“The NSW Nationals in Government will be working closely with organisers and industry associations to ensure COVID safe measures are in place for each show.
“Shows can go ahead from January 2021 with up to 5,000 people able to attend at any given time.
“Our Upper Hunter electorate is very diverse, and in normal times has many country shows from Quirindi in the north, to Singleton in the south, and from Dungog in the east, across to Merriwa in the west.
“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.
“Our communities have done the hard work and shown the discipline that enables us to now enjoy ourselves, however I must stress that it will be essential for both organisers, and attendees to follow guidelines as the last thing we want is outbreaks in regional towns.”
Organisers will have to complete a COVIDSafe Event Plan, and ensure social distancing at venues, controlled access at entry points to minimise crowding and a limit to the number of attendees depending on venue size with one person per 4 square metres.
Organisers are encouraged to use the Service NSW COVIDSafe QR codes to enable safe management of crowd numbers and contact tracing.
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