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Brisbane New Year’s Eve fireworks may not go ahead

Brisbane’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular along the Brisbane River may not go ahead because of health concerns over coronavirus.Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said he was keen to proceed with the event, although the council had yet to make a call on whether they would be staged.Despite uncertainty around whether fireworks will light up…

Brisbane’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular along the Brisbane River may not go ahead because of health concerns over coronavirus.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said he was keen to proceed with the event, although the council had yet to make a call on whether they would be staged.

Despite uncertainty around whether fireworks will light up Brisbane on NYE, many eateries and bars, with some of the best vantage points to watch the display, are already selling function tickets.

Generally, tens of thousands of people watch two sets of fireworks on New Year’s Eve with one at the family-friendly time of 8.30pm and another at midnight. Both displays last about 10 minutes.

“We want the fireworks to go ahead and I know many Brisbane residents are looking forward to New Year’s Eve celebrations, perhaps more than they ever have before, given the extraordinary year we have had,” Mr Schrinner told NCA NewsWire.

“It is too early to speculate the exact form that New Year’s Eve celebrations will take, but we are working on bringing the best possible celebration for residents we can.

“The Queensland Health requirements have cast added complications in relation to staging such a popular public event and these will all be taken into consideration.”

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has called for Sydney’s annual fireworks bonanza to be scrapped because it cannot be done in a risk-free way and to ensure families expecting a show weren’t left out of pocket.

“Many families will be making decisions about what they do over Christmas and New Year’s,” he said.

“They will be booking restaurants, cafes, hotels, 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.”

Brisbane’s annual Riverfire fireworks display, which was set to be staged last month, was cancelled to avoid large crowds gathering in the CBD and at Southbank.

Instead, the display was replaced with a laser and light show over the life of the three-week Brisbane Festival.

In August, the Ekka staged a fireworks display that was specifically tailored so it could be screened on television after the Ekka was cancelled because of coronavirus.

It was a five minute show set off from the ground of the main arena and from light towers and rooftops so it could be seen from anywhere there was a clear view of the city skyline.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young has announced the easing of restrictions over the next few months with people now allowed to stand while socialising in public and also permitted to dance at weddings.

The easing of restrictions also includes outdoor areas permitted to have as many as 1500 attendees providing they have a COVID-safe plan.

Dr Young has already given assurances that Christmas Carols and charity and school fetes leading in to the festive season could go ahead.

“As we move towards preparing for Christmas, people can have some surety for larger events, because we know a lot of people organise special events this time of year, whether it be fetes, carols … all sorts of things,” she said.

“So people have some assurance that they can safely organise them in the future.”

Mr Schrinner said residents had already made huge sacrifices and deserved to leave a forgettable 2020 behind and look forward to 2021 with hope.

It would also provide a major boost for small businesses who have struggled during lockdown and restrictions based on social distancing and limiting the spread of coronavirus.

“This annual event brings people together, injects money into our economy and for many local suppliers and businesses this is their biggest event of the year,” he said.

“So many Brisbane residents have had to cancel plans this year, be it a holiday, weddings, birthday parties or family get-togethers.”

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