Royal Bathurst Show organisers have welcomed a state government announcement to ease restrictions on attendance for country NSW shows from January 2021.
On Thursday, the state government announced country shows would be able to operate for a maximum crowd of 5000 at any given time under COVID-safe guidelines.
The news has been welcomed by Bathurst Agricultural, Horticultural and Pastoral [A,H and P] Association executive secretary Brett Kenworthy, who says it will allow the Royal Bathurst Show to run closer to normal capacity.
"At a normal show, we'd have anywhere between 8000 and 10,000 people at the Bathurst Showground during the show's peak periods, so to have a 5000 limit is at least a step closer to normality," Mr Kenworthy said.
"We intend to seek an exemption for peak periods, as it's in the fine print that larger shows are able to do so."
Mr Kenworthy said he's confident the show will be able to go ahead smoothly under the new regulations.
"We've got two popular evenings [Friday and Saturday] with fireworks and busy attractions, so we have that ability to spread the attendance load a bit," he said.
"At this stage, we'll likely need to keep a strict eye on attendance as, being a larger show, it's likely will hit that 5000 figure at several periods."
Mr Kenworthy said organisers are certain show visitors will have to sign in via QR code, and electronic ticketing systems will likely be implemented to control crowds.
"Whether it's on a mobile phone or printed on a piece of paper, mobile ticketing will require attendees to log their name and contact details to ensure we know who's coming in and out of the showground," he said.
"I think there will be a benefit to this long term, as this will allow us to easily trace any sort of incident that should occur at the event."
"We only had a limit of 500 people on the grounds prior to this announcement [which will remain for non-show events for the foreseeable future], so this allows us to plan with more confidence."
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said local shows are a proud tradition that communities look forward to every year.
"The show draws crowds from across the region, giving local businesses exposure and keeping money flowing through our towns - and I have no doubt it will give our regions a much needed boost," Mr Toole said.
"The state government will be working closely with organisers and industry associations to ensure COVID safe measures are in place for each show."
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