International air display cancelled

THE Jersey International Air Display has become the latest major public event to be cancelled following concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

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Deputy Mike Higgins, the organiser, made the announcement yesterday, saying that Islanders were now developing blasé attitudes towards social distancing and, despite putting together measures to try to mitigate risks, it would not be safe to hold the display.

It is only the second time that the airshow has been prevented from going ahead – with aircraft being prevented from taking off in 2011 because of fog.

The move follows the recent cancellation of the Weekender music festival, the Jersey International Motoring Festival, the Battle of Flowers and the Jersey Marathon – all of which normally attract thousands of visitors to the Island each year.

Deputy Higgins said: ‘Concerns have been expressed over whether people would observe physical-distancing requirements.

‘The view was expressed that many people in the Island, and elsewhere, have come to believe that life has returned to normal and that the virus poses no real threat, whereas we know that the virus is deadly for some and is by no means on the decline as is evidenced by the spikes in numbers of people contracting the disease throughout the world, including in countries that thought they had eradicated it.’

He added: ‘As safety has been one of the paramount concerns of the air display organisation, whether in the air or on the ground, we have decided to cancel this year’s event and plan for next year’s which we hope will be bigger and better than ever.’

Deputy Higgins previously revealed that, if it had not been cancelled, this year’s display would have had a significantly smaller budget and would only have lasted for around two hours.

The decision to cancel was taken following consultation with the government. However, even if officials had given it the go-ahead, it was possible that the Bailiff’s Panel – which gives official approval to large-scale events – could have refused permission at a later date.

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