Cancelling Honiton Gate to Plate was a ‘difficult’ decision made to protect the public from COVID-19, say town council

The ’difficult’ decision to cancel the 2020 Honiton Gate to Plate was made to protect the public and visitors from coronavirus, the town council said.

This week it was announced the outdoor food festival had been shelved, leaving organisers ‘disappointed’ and ‘surprised’ at the cancellation.

Honiton Town Council pulled the plug on the 2020 Honiton Gate to Plate, saying public health and safety was paramount.

The cancellation came a fortnight after it was announced the food festival was set to return in August with added safety measures, and sanitiser stations, to stop the spread of the virus.

East Devon District Council, which supported the annual event, said it understood the need to cancel this year’s food market.

A Honiton Town Council spokeswoman said: “The decision not to hold Gate to Plate 2020 was made after careful consideration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the council’s wish to protect the health and well-being of Honiton’s residents and visitors.

“The decision is in line with other similar events which were due to take place during the summer months.

“This was a difficult decision to take as the council had hoped that the event would be able to take place.

“However, the council believes that the priority has to be the health and safety of all those involved in the event and the wider community.”

Organisers Sarah Milner Simonds and Beverley Milner Simonds this week spoke of their ‘disappointment’ over Honiton Town Council’s decision to postpone the event until 2021 – after it was announced a fortnight earlier, on June 17, the outdoor food event would go ahead.

They said they were ‘surprised’ by the move when pubs had permission to reopen and relaxed social distancing rules had been introduced.

Sarah Milner said: “We are disappointed that councillors do not feel confident to proceed with this year’s event, even with the new relaxed social distancing guidance and more businesses reopening.”

Co-organiser Beverley Milner Simonds, said: “We have received positive feedback from local businesses who were grateful for a local event in the calendar to look forward to and something that would encourage residents back into their local town.

“We were surprised by the decision given the recent changes to allow pubs to open and easing of lockdown rules.”

The street market, backed by Honiton Town Council and East Devon District Council, had been set to return in August with a new layout, extra space and safety measures in place to safeguard visitors and traders against the coronavirus.

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Organisers voice ‘disappointment’ and ‘surprise’ at decision to shelve 2020 Honiton Gate to Plate

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