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The Covid-19 pandemic claimed another regional event with Whitsunday Regional Council officially cancelling 2020 Whitsunday Schoolies at their ordinary meeting in Cannonvale today.
Councillors voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Whitsunday Schoolies 7-Day Safety Response Program due to the ongoing issues and risks relating to COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitsunday Schoolies Safety Response Program has been held in Airlie Beach each November specifically for high school graduates celebrating the completion of high school years.
The program normally draws over 1000 schoolies across Queensland and inter-state and involves well-planned supervised diversionary activities (including mosh-pit style dance parties) in a safe environment known as “Schoolies Central”.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the Whitsunday Schoolies Advisory Committee had been constantly monitoring the Covid-19 restrictions.
“Due to the continuing ongoing issues and uncertainty due to COVID-19 restrictions the committee recently agreed unanimously that it would be too high a risk to the Whitsunday community to run the program this year,” he said.
“The risk of a positive COVID case occurring if we went ahead with Whitsunday Schoolies, and the flow-on impacts to the Whitsundays as a popular tourist destination, is just too high.”
“The Whitsundays is a safe place to visit, with no positive coronavirus cases for over three months, but constantly changing restrictions have made planning even a month ahead impossible so the common-sense thing to do was cancel.”
Mayor Willcox said COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on the lives of Year 12 students and to call off Whitsundays Schoolies is another blow to this group of young people.
“It’s not the outcome we wanted but it would be irresponsible of us to go ahead this year.“Fingers crossed 2021 will see some normality return and Whitsundays Schoolies can again be a highlight in the calendar for Year 12 students.
“While we are not staging a Schoolies event in 2020 the Whitsunday region is open for business and welcomes independent travellers, young and old,” he said.
“I encourage all visitors to stick to the current restrictions and continue to practise good hygiene, stay at home if sick and follow social distancing guidelines.”
Any students who have pre-registered for 2020 Whitsunday Schoolies activities through the Whitsunday Schoolies website will be contacted this week and are eligible for a full refund.
The Whitsunday Regional Council urge all Year 12 school leavers to closely monitor and follow the latest advice issued by Queensland Health over the coming months. Information is available on the Queensland Health website.
For any further enquiries, please contact Council’s Community Grants Support & Events Officer on 4945 0291.
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