Australia

Couple’s wildly popular Christmas lights cancelled over virus concerns

A couple who draw crowds of hundreds to their north west Sydney street with their breathtaking Christmas lights have cancelled their 2020 display.Quakers Hill couple Lauraine and Peter Overton told news.com.au it’s just “too risky” to have their display in this year, and after looking at the coronavirus health advice, they decided not to go…

A couple who draw crowds of hundreds to their north west Sydney street with their breathtaking Christmas lights have cancelled their 2020 display.

Quakers Hill couple Lauraine and Peter Overton told news.com.au it’s just “too risky” to have their display in this year, and after looking at the coronavirus health advice, they decided not to go ahead with their annual Christmas lights installation.

“We get too many people here, you might get 400 people in one big hit,” Mr Overton said. “You get people from all over and I don’t want to start it (the virus) off again.

“You can’t distance anyone, it’s just packed,” he said. “Normally in a normal year we can sit outside and talk to people.

“You’re looking at a damn big fine too. I can’t control the crowds. I think to be on the safe side. I think we’ll let it go this year and we’ll be back next year.”

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In a normal year, Peter said he spends two months putting the display together, and uses the event to raise money for charity. This year would have been their 27th year of putting on the festive light show.

He said while it would have been a milestone for the couple, he’d “rather play it safe”.

Despite calling off the more extravagant display, Peter said he couldn’t go cold turkey, and would still be putting a few Christmas lights in his trees.

Lauraine and Peter both said they enjoyed the crowds and socialising, and hoped by next year, they could return to normal.

After posting about it online, Lauraine received a huge response of more than 500 comments from disappointed fans of the display.

“A lot of them saying COVID sucks, and 2020 sucks,” Peter said. “I think to myself, it’s just a bit too risky.

“I’d rather play it safe and come back again next year.

“It’s not like I’m gonna stop. I want to get another 30 years out of it if I can.”

A spokesperson for NSW Health said they support people putting up Christmas lights and decorations.

“NSW Health supports people decorating their houses, including putting up festive lights, this Christmas,” the statement said.

The spokesperson suggested viewing Christmas lights “from your car”.

“In recognition of the important role that Christmas celebrations play in the lives of many Australians, NSW Health is developing guidelines to help people enjoy parties and gatherings in homes and outside homes in a COVID-safe way.”

The spokesperson reminded people of the maximum person limit for gatherings in NSW is 20 people at your home, and 30 people at an outdoor public area.

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