Shows can go on - but how with all the restrictions?

Shows in dilemma as green light given but logistics unworkable

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Ammie Cleal competes at the Moree Show last year. The Moree Show Society aims to proceed this year in August. Photo by Kristy Bullen.

Ammie Cleal competes at the Moree Show last year. The Moree Show Society aims to proceed this year in August. Photo by Kristy Bullen.

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Moree Show still working towards an August date

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NSW country shows have been given the green light to be up and running again, but organisers are shaking their heads on how they can possibly operate under current health order restrictions.

Great time for kids. Helen Officer with grandkids Charlie and Harry at the Moree show. The Showmans' Guild say they are ready to go. Photo by Sophie Harris.

Great time for kids. Helen Officer with grandkids Charlie and Harry at the Moree show. The Showmans' Guild say they are ready to go. Photo by Sophie Harris.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said that showgrounds could plan to open from July 1, but under health orders that actually prevent "mingling" and require traceable ticketting.

The announcement caught the NSW Agricultural Societies Council by surprise as it didn't think any shows could get underway by at least October, with possibly 20 shows possible by the end of November.

The Moree Show Society was planning to stage its postponed show on August 14-15, but it can't see how it could possibly either police the health orders, due to a lack of show volunteers to do so, nor stop mingling in areas such as the horse stalls or in show alley.

The Showmans' Guild has told the Society it's ready to bring sideshow attractions to the Moree show and also to the Mungindi show on the preceeding weekend - if restrictions allow it.

Mr Barilaro's office told The Land that Public Health Orders have not yet been published specifically for country shows, but that "organisers can begin to plan and host events in line with guidelines released from July 1".

But the health guidelines would seem to make most shows unworkable, especially considering the ability of societies to police health orders.

These guidelines include: events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines, physical distancing, hand hygiene, people not entering venues when sick, and consideration of limiting of "mingling" at all events.

Mr Barilaro's department though is working to make sure the rules are not so stringent on shows that they couldn't actually function and more advice was being sought from the NSW Health Department.

Moree Show president Brendan Munn said his committee was working hard to get the Moree show underway in August and was "ready to go".

A critical meeting will be held in four weeks, with the input of local member and NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall involved, to make a final decision on whether they can realistically stage a show amid COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

"If it's still the 4m squared rule of distancing then I can't see how we can do it," Mr Munn said.

"If it's ticketted, I can't see how that can work as we don't have the staff to take everyone's names nor the volunteers to police the distancing.

"It looks logistically impossible the way things stand. I mean people need to mingle in the horse stalls."

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