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First Minister announces large events to be cancelled as some organisers in Aberdeenshire pre-empt the move

By David Porter

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From Monday the Scottish Government has said that all large gatherings above 500 people with the potential to impact the emergency services should be cancelled to prioritise the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the action in Scotland to protect the resilience of the emergency services until the impact of the virus has lessened substantially.

The First Minister has confirmed a move to stop gatherings which may place a strain on emergency services.
The First Minister has confirmed a move to stop gatherings which may place a strain on emergency services.

Managing large events safely can require a significant commitment and planning from the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, as well as others such as the voluntary sector.

At a time when there is severe pressure on emergency and public services as a result of the virus, cancelling such large events will free up vital resources to focus on dealing with the outbreak.

Guidance on how this action will impact events will be produced before Monday.

The First Minister said: “Event organisers should take action now to help our emergency services deal with the scale of the challenge we face with coronavirus.

“Our frontline services are doing a fantastic job but they are already under pressure, which will increase as the number of cases in Scotland rises.

“The emergency services are well prepared to deal with this outbreak but mass gatherings, such as large football and rugby matches as well as concerts, can have a significant impact on emergency service resources.

“Removing unnecessary burdens on our frontline workers is the right thing to do so they can prioritise their response to where it is needed most.”

A daily update on the current number of cases is published each day at 2pm.

Advice for people showing symptoms is also available.

In Aberdeenshire, several events have been postponed by organisers -

Udny Climate Sunday, which was due to take place this Sunday has been postponed with organisers commenting on social media: "We have decided to cancel the event on Sunday (or rather postpone it till the autumn).

"Given that many people are being cautious, we are concerned that numbers will be lower than they might be.

"Lots of people have expressed an interest in coming and we want as many as possible to enjoy the day.

"We look forward to your support later in the year."

Tarves Playgroup and Toddlers Soup and Sweet at the Melvin Hall, Tarves on Saturday, March 14 for which organisers said; "In light of recent developments surrounding coronavirus, the decision has been taken to postpone Tarves Playgroup and Toddler Soup and Sweet being held this Saturday, March 14 at the Melvin Hall.

"The Group considered that this was the most responsible decision to take.

"Whilst it is extremely disappointing that we have had to take this decision, rest assured that it is postponed only and not cancelled."

Home Start Garioch Ladies Tea on Saturday, March 21 at Inverurie Town Hall with organisers commenting: "Sadly we have taken the decision to cancel the upcoming tea party.

"We feel that given the current concerns regarding the coronavirus it would be best to leave the celebrations to later."

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