Sydney‘s New Year’s Eve fireworks display is an event that typically gathers some one million people around Sydney Harbour each year, and is watched by an estimated 1 billion around the world.
While cancelling the display for New Year’s Eve in 2021 would no doubt disappoint a few, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore is reportedly facing pressure to call off the event due to the fact it “may not be responsible” to gather crowds on the harbour foreshore amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an article from Sydney Morning Herald, local councils are urging Moore to make a call sooner rather than later, to allow event organisers more time for preparations in establishing social distancing boundaries according to state restrictions.
“The clock is ticking and the longer the City of Sydney leaves it, the harder it will be for us all to deliver a safe event,” North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson told the publication, adding: “Mayor to mayor, I’m asking Clover to call this”.
The fireworks display (video below) cost $6.5 million in 2019/2020. The event went ahead despite calls to cancel them due to the bushfire crisis.
While Moore is allegedly working with councils to make an informed decision about whether the fireworks should or shouldn’t go ahead, there are experts who are calling for outright cancellation, deeming the display unsafe.
“They shouldn’t go ahead, for several reasons. One — it sends a message we’re out of the woods, when we’re not,” professor Mary-Louise McLaws from the University of NSW told 9News.
Moore told SMH that “it would be incredibly sad” if the city had to call off the fireworks (for the first time since 1988), but that the health and safety of Sydneysiders and those who may flock to the city for NYE is ultimately more important.
As for what might go down if the fireworks are cancelled? Well, there’s no definitive plan B. Some say the TV networks could show a compilation of previous displays in place of a live event, while others are suggesting the city of Sydney may hold fireworks at a secret destination where it would be filmed and streamed.
For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.