CORONAVIRUS CANCELLATION: Pandemic fears claim first victim
THE Warwick Show has been cancelled and the Warwick Twin Cinema has been forced to lay off most of its staff as coronavirus hits local industries.
The annual event was called off this afternoon after the Prime Minister Scott Morrison banned all non-essential gatherings of over 500 people from Monday in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.
In a tearful statement to the Daily News, the events and marketing coordinator of the Warwick Show Teilah McKelvey said that the event was cancelled in response to the Prime Minister's directive.
"The Warwick Show Society has been closely monitoring and evaluating developments regarding the coronavirus," Ms McKelvey said.
"Unfortunately, this means the 2020 Warwick Show has been cancelled. This decision has not been made lightly, and has been made in the best interest of our community, competitors, and traders."
However, Warwick's tourism and events sector is not the only victim of the pandemic.
Michel Kairouz, owner and manager of Warwick Twin Cinema, said a steep decline in cinemagoers combined with industry giants blocking new releases meant he had no choice but to let go of four hardworking employees.
"With the school holidays coming up, they've taken out all the great films. Combined with the lack of people attending the cinemas altogether, it's making a great impact," he said.
"So, at the moment we're just trying to stay above water, and if it keeps going like this we might be able to last for a month or two maximum."
"I've had to get rid of four staff recently. I'm not the only one affected, a lot of people are affected badly, but the entertainment industry would definitely be one of the worst," Mr Kairouz said.
Despite the seemingly dire consequences, Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie advised the region to stay calm and heed the Prime Minister's directive.
"This is different to our water shortages, where there have been calls for residents to cancel events because of water usage, but we've recommended they go ahead because of the boost it gives to the local economy," Cr Dobie said.
"It's going to take individual and every organisation possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus. If the Prime Minister agrees with the chief medical officer's recommendation, his advice should be very seriously considered."
The Queensland Electoral Commission was contacted in regards any risk associated with the upcoming local elections, but declined to comment.