Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks are set to be the latest casualty in the COVID-19 pandemic as pressure mounts on the City of Sydney to cancel the event.
Speaking to the Today show on Wednesday, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he was keen for the event to go ahead but could not envision a way it could possibly work under the current health orders.
“I don’t want to see it happen but the reality is, mate, how can you attract one million people to the harbour shores and do it in a safe way?” he asked. “We know it won’t happen … the risk is far too high.
Mr Barilaro said the city council should axe the event as soon as possible to ensure families expecting a show weren’t out of pocket.
“Many families will be making decisions about what they do over Christmas and New Years,” he said.
“They will be booking restaurants, cafes, hotel, accommodation at significant cost to family budgets. If the drawcard is the fireworks and then you made a final decision to not go ahead with it, that would be the wrong thing to do.”
A message on the City of Sydney website shows the future of the event is under serious consideration.
“Sydney New Year’s Eve is a global event much loved by local and international visitors, and our celebrations are recognised as among the best in the world,” the message read.
“Health and safety is paramount for our community, and it may not be responsible to encourage large crowds to our foreshore this year.
“We’re currently working with the NSW Government to determine the future of the event for 2020.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore told the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago the final decision laid with the State Government.
“Ultimately, if NSW Health and police can’t be certain that the event can be held safely, it won’t go ahead,” she said.
Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are believed to bring in $133 million each year and last year were watched by one million people in person and one billion around the world.