PM’s indoors events ban a ‘real blow’ for winter agricultural shows

Winter agricultural shows across the UK have been put under doubt as Prime Minister Boris Johnson today warned a ban on conferences and large events in England could last six for up to more months.

In July, the Prime Minister had said conferences and exhibitions would be allowed to take place in England from October 1, 2020. Many show organisers had sought permission to proceed in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

Also Read: English and Royal Welsh winter fairs cancelled

It comes just weeks after organisers for the English Winter Fair and Royal Welsh Winter Fair announced both shows would not take place in 2020.

Agricultural shows such as the Royal Highland Show, Royal Welsh Show, Balmoral Show, the Yorkshire Show are among some of the biggest industry events in the UK to be cancelled because of coronavirus.

‘A real blow’

The Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO), a body which represents the UK’s many agricultural, horticultural, equine and countryside events, explained many shows were run by charities which rely on ticket sales to fund their work.

Commenting on the latest government announcement, ASAO chairman Mark Stoddart said: “Clearly, the postponed resumption of indoor exhibitions comes as a real blow.

While the show industry and others within the events sector understand the situation facing the country at this difficult time, agricultural societies are mainly all registered charities which rely heavily on events and mass gatherings to keep going.

“These events help fund our wider work to support and champion the farming community.

“Myself, and the team at the ASAO, are working in conjunction with many governing bodies in the hope that agricultural events can return in summer 2021 in their full glory.

“We await further clarity from the Prime Minister in due course.”