Moree Plains Shire Council knocks back proposed community events due to COVID-19 risk

A night time food market was due to be held at Moree Showground in September, however organisers have since withdrawn the event after discussions with council. Photo: Facebook/Foodies Night Markets
A night time food market was due to be held at Moree Showground in September, however organisers have since withdrawn the event after discussions with council. Photo: Facebook/Foodies Night Markets

Moree Plains Shire Council has knocked back two community events that were proposed to come to Moree, due to COVID-19 fears.

A night time food market was originally set to be held at Moree Showground on August 20, although it was pushed back to September due to upgrades happening at the showground.

An amusement carnival has also been proposed to be held on private land at the south end of Frome Street.

However, Moree Plains Shire Council has made it clear that it does not support either event, due to the potential increased risk of transmitting COVID-19 through large crowds.

"Council's considered view is that we do not support the proposed events, given the risks to the community, in particular the difficulties of managing larger groups of people and in undertaking 'track and trace' should the virus become apparent," council's director of planning and community development Angus Witherby said.

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Following discussions with council and Crown Lands, organisers of the Foodies Night Markets have withdrawn the event at Moree Showground, however the amusement carnival still plans to go ahead without council's support.

Mr Witherby said council maintains its view that the operators require council approval, which will not be forthcoming.

"Council has formed the view that the risks cannot be fully addressed," he said.

Council is continuing to pursue all available avenues to ensure the event does not go ahead.

Moree mayor Katrina Humphries asked residents to "put the community first" and carefully consider the risks around the event before attending, should it proceed.

"I know people want to make a living, and also the desire in the community for entertainment," she said.

"This must be balanced against the public risk, in particular if the virus spreads at one of these events.

"People can have COVID-19 without symptoms and it only takes one infected person and we have a major hot spot on our hands.

"With the vulnerable people in our community, that is something we can well do without. Hundreds could potentially be affected."