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Ending with a whimper: 2020’s final insult

Coronavirus has claimed Brisbane's New Year's Eve and Australia Day festivities as its latest victims, with council expected to cancel both events in an extraordinary announcement today.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Brisbane City Council will today cancel both its New Year's Eve and Australia Day firework events, with South Bank Parklands unable to host its usual crowds under the State Government's social distancing requirements.

Furthermore, council intends to deploy an increased security presence to the parklands on December 31 to crackdown on unofficial festivities and ensure social distancing measures are followed.

There may also be temporary infrastructure and road closures if required.

People line up to catch the train home after the midnight fireworks last New Year’s Eve.
People line up to catch the train home after the midnight fireworks last New Year’s Eve.

It comes after Brisbane's annual Riverfire fireworks display was cancelled last month to prevent large crowds from gathering in the city and South Bank.

The Ekka was also shut down this year - for just the third time in its 144-year history - due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fireworks over the South Bank Lagoon at New Year’s Eve last year
Fireworks over the South Bank Lagoon at New Year’s Eve last year

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner earlier this month said council wanted the New Year's Eve fireworks to go ahead but that Queensland Health requirements posed serious hurdles to the event.

Around 100,000 people routinely flock to the 17ha South Bank Parklands for council's New Year's Eve event - a feat council has now deemed impossible under 1.5m social distancing requirements.

People walk home after the midnight Fireworks at South Bank Lagoon at New Year’s Eve last year.
People walk home after the midnight Fireworks at South Bank Lagoon at New Year’s Eve last year.

The Courier-Mail understands residents will still be allowed to enter the South Bank parklands and lagoon on New Year's Eve, but that logistics will be in place around the area to ensure social distancing requirements are met.

"There will also be a special focus on social distancing, pool safety and first aid so that everyone can enjoy a safe and happy New Year's Eve," Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said.

Restaurants in South Bank and around the city will also be allowed to operate under their COVID-19 customer limits.

Roma Street Parkland and all 2100 of council's public parks will also remain open to the public, provided they heed 40-person outdoor gathering limits.

The Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols event is slated to proceed at Riverstage on Saturday 5 December, with tickets on sale next month.

Originally published as Ending with a whimper: 2020's final insult


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