The Southern Agricultural Show is looking to quell Covid fears after both Isle of Man Creamery and the IOM WI pulled out in the last week.
The show, which takes place this weekend amongst rising Covid cases, has assured the public that they can safely attend the event as they are following government guidelines, they said: ‘The Southern Show Committee are volunteers running a non-profit agricultural show for the benefit of the island community and have worked countless hours to get everything in place this year. We respect the decisions of some, but the majority feedback is that both businesses and visitors want to attend, and we hope that it is understood how much goes on behind the scenes to put this event on, promoting and supporting local agriculture, producers and the economy.’
They have also outlined the measures being put in place, saying: ‘The Showground is outdoors in a wide open space, and we have increased hand-sanitising stations, have one-way systems in the marquees, and will open up sides of marquees to allow greater airflow where weather permits. We are asking those who have symptoms or are awaiting a test result not to attend. Mask wearing is not mandatory, but is welcomed and encouraged, especially when dealing with our volunteers who will be supplied with masks and gloves. All visitors are asked to respect each others space, especially inside marquees. We have great faith in the people of the Isle of Man, and are very grateful for the considerable support everyone has shown. Our volunteer committee are doing everything they can to ensure this long running traditional community event is run as safely as possible. We welcome you all with open but socially distanced arms!’
The Creamery said their decision came after a number of their team tested positive for the virus at the beginning of last week, meaning it was important for them to protect their other staff. They said: ‘It was decided that the team that would be available to cover the stand at the show are vital to the production and logistical side of the business and we couldn’t risk their safety while we already had a number of team members in isolation. It was a combination of staffing shortage and protecting those still in the business. It was a difficult decision but we felt it was more important to ensure the vital services of production and delivery to the Manx Public. We were in contact with DEFA and communicated to them as soon as we had made the decision last week. They were very understanding of the decision and we are grateful to them for this.’
Whilst the Creamery said they are hopeful they will still be attending the Royal Manx Agricultural Show next month, the same cannot be said for Andreas Meat Co and the WI, with the latter posting a statement on Facebook announcing that they would not be attending either event.
Chairman Pauline said online: ‘The WI has decided to cancel the Royal WI show tent as well as the Southern show WI tent. All WIs will be notified of an alternative when the committee has made plans. This has been a very hard decision to make but the safety of all members is paramount to us.’
The two shows are some of the biggest events on the island’s calendar and businesses and charities like these make up a lot of the stalls on offer. The Southern takes place this weekend from 10-6 both days on Orrisdale Farm in Ballasalla and you can buy tickets on entry.
Current government guidance allows big events to take place but this is something that many in the community have discussed. If you have any thoughts on events taking place this summer, let Gef know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org