In light of significant rise of cases of COVID locally, public health officials have had to request that the event is cancelled to try and ensure the current spread is not exacerbated by holding large scale events until the current rise starts to fall.
North East Lincolnshire currently has more cases of COVID per hundred thousand population than anywhere else locally, including a significant proportion of the delta variant, and if the event were to go ahead, the risk of onwards transmission of COVID to other areas would be unavoidably high. The decision comes just days after the Government delayed its COVID roadmap to greater freedom.
The event, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June 2021, was planned to be a COVID-compliant celebration of our armed forces community and packed with displays at Meridian Showground. The air display that was also planned will not now go ahead.
Steve Pintus, Director of Public Health for North East Lincolnshire, said: “The numbers of cases in North East Lincolnshire have been increasing significantly in the last week, and if we follow the same trajectory in the next few days, there is significant risk that the virus could get out of hand in our area. Coupled with the fact that we know people from out of the area come to this great event, the only sensible course of action was, unfortunately, to cancel. The last thing we want to do is for people to take the virus home with them and cause spikes in another area.”
Alex Baxter, Armed Forces Champion for North East Lincolnshire, said: “We have received positive feedback for our efforts to re-set and organise a smaller Covid-secure event, but given the surge in cases locally must now work with our public health team to ensure we do not aggravate this by bringing large numbers of people together until safe to do so. It is clearly very disappointing for our residents, veterans, participants and stakeholder, but public safety must always come first.
“However, we are already planning for a ‘thank you’ event later this year, and will re-focus all our efforts into coming back bigger and better in 2022, when hopefully the restrictions around COVID will have all left us, and we can return to putting on the show that everyone in the area loves.”
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Philip Jackson, agreed with the decision, “We have had fantastic support for this event for many years now, but I have agreed that this is the only realistic course of action.
“I’d like to publicly thank the volunteers at the Armed Forces Major Events Team for the significant amount of work undertaken in planning for this event,” he continued. “It’s a huge feat to try to manage the competing demands, particularly this year, of public safety with community pride and support.
“We will support the team in the coming year to bring Armed Forces Day back to its normal slot next year, and help deliver a great event in 2022.”