Novocastrians will have to wait another year for a fireworks show, with City of Newcastle cancelling its New Year’s Eve event for 2020.
The celebration has been cancelled due to the ongoing risks associated with mass gatherings and COVID-19.
The event attracted an estimated 30,000 people to the Foreshore last year.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said while a major event on the Foreshore will not go ahead, the City is investigating a once off different New Year’s celebration with a series of smaller events throughout the city, pending any public health measures in place in late December.
“The decision to not go ahead with this year’s fireworks and concert event is a sad one to make, but it has been made with our community’s safety in mind,” she said.
“As we have seen both in Australia and overseas, the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to worsen quickly, so we naturally have concerns around the delivery of an event that attracts between thirty and forty thousand people into the Foreshore.
“Our New Year’s Eve fireworks event is one of the City’s most vibrant and exciting occasions with activities and entertainment for the whole family.
“Through liaison with key stakeholders including NSW Police, the City has determined that the transport of thousands of people into and out of the Foreshore precinct would almost certainly lead to pinch points constituting a mass gathering where social distancing is impossible to maintain.”
Newcastle City Police District Commander, Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey APM said the risk of large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic remained a high concern.
“NSW Police will respond to whatever decision the council makes regarding the event,” he said.
“However, the dangers posed by moving tens of thousands of people into and out of the Foreshore precinct for the 9pm fireworks display remains quite high in the current pandemic conditions.”
City of Newcastle has encouraged residents to enjoy New Year’s Eve in a COVID Safe way and will continue to work with NSW Police to prioritise public safety.
Information about the 2021 New Year’s event will be released soon.