We are currently receiving large numbers of enquiries from some sectors of the showing community regarding the possibility of our beloved agricultural shows making a return to our calendar in 2021. We are aware that there is some misinformation and speculation being circulated on various social media platforms. The Irish Shows Association has not issued any advice to shows to cancel for 2021. At all times the ISA has provided Insurance indemnity for all activities to member shows who use our insurance and will continue to do so in 2021.
The Irish Shows Association is a representative body for agricultural shows. Our primary function is to support our member shows and to advocate on their behalf. We are not empowered to make a decision to cancel all shows. Ultimately, shows will need to decide for themselves whether they are able to run safely. We will do all we can to help them. Show organisers will have many factors to consider in deciding whether or not to run and neither decision is an easy one. Member shows can be assured of the support of the ISA either way.
We issued advise to shows in the Spring of 2020 not to run events until it was safe to do so. Under current restrictions, no public gatherings are allowed, and we do not yet have a timeline as to when that will change. This uncertainty is exacerbated by the emergence of new, more transmissible variants of the virus in recent weeks. Our show season runs from early May to October, so a great deal could change in that timeline, especially if the vaccination programme ramps up in the second quarter as envisaged.
We are liaising with the various government departments and regulatory authorities and will continue to do so. We await the revised “Living With Covid” plan, which is due to be issued by government this week. Once we have some clarity as to under which level public events will be allowed to run, we will have a clearer picture. A series of webinars will take place in March to consult with the member shows in each of the regions.
At all times, we will be bound by the expert public health advise and the prevailing regulations.
We know and understand that people are missing the shows and want to know what is going to happen. We also eagerly anticipate a return to shows, in whatever format that is possible.
We ask you all to have patience and bear with us until we have more clarity. Also, please try to understand the pressures that show organisers are facing and be tolerant. For now, there is something that we can all do to increase the likelihood of shows returning – stay home, stay safe and follow the guidelines.