The Roma and Mitchell Shows have been cancelled for 2020. Photo: Turnbull family at the Roma Show, 2018.
The Roma and Mitchell Shows have been cancelled for 2020. Photo: Turnbull family at the Roma Show, 2018.

Major event cancellations forces local businesses to let staff go

MAJOR event cancellations have had an immediate impact on the Maranoa economy, with the sudden downturn to force businesses to let go of staff.

Despite no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the southwest, the introduction of new event restrictions by the Federal Government has forced some of the biggest events on the Roma calendar to be cancelled.

Thousands of visitors were set to make the annual pilgrimage to Roma for Easter In The Country (EITC) between April 8-12, an event that packs out motels and fills local pubs.

After Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced a ban on all gatherings of 100 people or more, EITC president Jenny Flynn said there was no choice but to cancel the event.

"Being acutely aware of the enormous economic injection this festival makes into the Roma community, the committee has been working to ensure there is no alternative option for the event," Mrs Flynn said.

The Roma Show Society also cancelled their blockbuster event in May.

"It is extremely disappointing to cancel the Roma Show for 2020 and there are many people who will be impacted by this decision," the Roma Show committee said in a statement.

With upcoming economic cash injections wiped out in a matter of days, local businesses are already feeling the impact, including Roma Explorers Inn.

General manager Richard Condon said a substantial number of their accommodation bookings have been cancelled and conferences have been postponed.

"We were totally booked out, and had been for five months for the Easter period," Mr Condon said.

"Reservations are suffering as a result of local and overseas corporations telling Australian employees not to travel which postpones all conferences. We will have to take drastic action and stand down some of our dedicated employees."

He said the business will "weather the effects but in the short term the staff will suffer".

The Maranoa Regional Council announced a 10 point action plan to address the spread of coronavirus.

Like EITC, the Roma Saleyards tours and Big Rig miniature train will be temporarily discontinued and the Interpretive Centre will close until further notice.

Council said it will assist businesses with cashflow during this period, they will make approved payments to suppliers of goods and services, where possible.


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