Sidmouth air show is cancelled for 2020 amid fears thousands of spectators could spread coronavirus

Covid has cancelled Sidmouth 2020 air show amid town council fears it would be ‘irresponsible’ to encourage 30,000-plus people to the seafront.

Sidmouth Town Council on Tuesday (August 11) officially announced the cancellation of the August bank holiday event, where traditionally the Red Arrows appear alongside a host of aerial entertainment.

The cancellation of the annual event has been done to protect the town against the spread of coronavirus, and ease residents’ anxieties as they come out of lockdown.

The council said it would have been ‘difficult’ to enforce the social distancing of thousands of extra people.

Overall, we felt that the possible risk to health far outweighed any possible short-term economic rewards for our community

Members said protecting public health outweighed any financial gain the air show brought to Sidmouth.

The town council said it will now focus on organising the 2021 Sidmouth air show, which has a provisional date of Friday, August 27, 2021.

Sidmouth

Photos taken at the 2019 air display show the crowds on the beach and seafront –
Sidmouth Town Council said attracting 30,000-plus people to the town to watch the air show in 2020 would be ‘irresponsible’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Photos: East Devon News.

Sidmouth air show Sidmouth

Councillor Ian Barlow, Sidmouth Town Council chairman, said: “Though some teams had provisionally confirmed that they would appear in 2020, the council felt that as the town attempts to recover from lockdown, it would be irresponsible to encourage the expected 30,000-plus people into the Sid Valley and public areas where social distancing would have been difficult to enforce.

“Overall, we felt that the possible risk to health far outweighed any possible short-term economic rewards for our community.

“This decision allows us to concentrate on a bigger and better event for 2021.”

Cllr Louise Cole, chair of Sidmouth Town Council’s tourism and economy committee, said members were working to support local businesses in other ways, in a bid to aid recovery and boost the town’s tourism.

She said: “While we know how popular the air display always is, we also recognise residents’ anxieties as we slowly come out of lockdown.”

She said the town was ‘very fortunate’ to have a host of other high-quality attractions and activities for residents and visitors, including the beach and walks.

Cllr Cole said: “Working closely with our local businesses, we are supporting recovery in other ways to balance building confidence and safety with the need to boost our tourism industry.”

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