In devastating news for show-goers around Sydney, the 2020 Hawkesbury Show has been cancelled amid coronavirus concerns and government orders around public gatherings of more than 500 people.
The Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association (HDAA) issued a statement to the effect on Wednesday, which garnered hundreds of comments and shares from locals.
"The Hawkesbury Agricultural Association informs that the 134th Annual Hawkesbury Show, scheduled for 1-3 May 2020 has been cancelled in response to COVID-19 and the need to comply with the order issued by the Minister for Health and Medical Research under Section 7 of the Health Act 2010. This order remains in place until 14th June 2020," the statement said.
"Whilst this is extremely disappointing to all concerned, the health and safety of members, patrons and exhibitors is of the upmost importance."
The HDAA said its 2021 show would be taking place at the Hawkesbury Showground as scheduled.
"Our 2021 Show is scheduled for 23 to 25 April 2021 and we will certainly be working towards making this a premier event for both the Hawkesbury and the greater regional community," said the HDAA.
"We are extremely appreciative of the support provided by our sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers and members and look forward to a continuation of these important relationships. Thanks everyone for their understanding and support."
HDAA President Ross Matheson said planning for the 2020 show had been well underway.
Tickets had been sold online, events booked, and competition entries had been submitted.
Mr Matheson said the HDAA would be contacting individuals and businesses affected.
On March 14, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard made an Order under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 to force the immediate cancellation of major events with more than 500 people.
Individuals who fail to comply could face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $11,000 or both, plus additional penalties for each day the offence continues. Corporations face even harsher fines.