The Paniyiri Greek Festival has been cancelled for the first time in 44 years. (ABC News: Mark Leonardi)
Events across Queensland have been cancelled from this weekend and others postponed indefinitely amid fears about the spread of coronavirus.
- QPAC performances, World Science Festival and Surf Life Saving Championships are among the events cancelled
- Brisbane’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which was due to go ahead in the city today, has also been cancelled.
- Some events have been postponed and may be rescheduled for later this year
The Federal Government has called for all non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people to be cancelled from Monday with schools, universities, public transport and airports exempt.
Major sporting leagues including the NRL and A-League said games will go ahead as planned this weekend but from next week will be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.
In Brisbane, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) has cancelled all performances until Sunday.
In a statement it said all audience members will be fully refunded within the coming days and that the forward program of events will be reviewed.
The Queensland Museum Network has cancelled Brisbane’s World Science Festival 2020 in March and some of the remaining events in Gladstone, Toowoomba and Townsville.
The museum will remain open to visitors and operate as normal.
The World Science Festival has been cancelled in Brisbane and several other locations across the state. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
The St Patrick’s Day Parade, which was due to go ahead in the city today, has also been cancelled.
The Paniyiri Greek Festival, Big Skies Festival, and Somerset Story Festival have been cancelled as well.
Paniyiri organising committee chair Chris Kazonis said the decision wasn’t made lightly, and that the event would return next year.
“The Paniyiri organising committee takes the health of our community very seriously and like all organisations right now, are doing all we can to minimise the risk of COVID-19,” he said.
“This is the first time the festival has been cancelled in 44 years, and we share in the disappointment that is being experienced
Brisbane Football said fixtures and cup matches for this weekend and its regular seasonal fixtures have been postponed.
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) has cancelled the 2020 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships which were due to be held on the Gold Coast in April.
President Graham Ford said more than 6,000 competitors were due to attend.
“The health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers, officials and staff are paramount,” he said.
“SLSA also recognises that an event the size of the Aussies, has the potential to attract over 17,000 people and we feel that it is important that we play our part in reducing the spread of the virus out of respect for all Australians and the health care system.”
The Surf Life Saving Australia Championships were due to be held on the Gold Coast in April. (Supplied: Surf Life Saving Australia)
The Gold Coast Film Festival, World Surfing League events, and Gold Coast Little Athletics State Championships have also been cancelled.
The Melanoma March at Coolangatta and at Mackay will not be going ahead on Sunday.
Theme parks on the Gold Coast remain open.
Supernova Comic and Gaming Convention is planned to go ahead on the Gold Coast in March with organisers putting in extra safety measures including handwashing and sanitising stations.
The Mooloolaba Triathlon is set to go ahead in March.
Churches with large followings have been urged to consider adding extra services to keep numbers under 500.