Boats 2020 and MDL's Ocean Village Boat Show have both been cancelled due to the rising risk of Covid-19
The decision was made by the council at 6:30pm on Thursday 10 September, the evening before the shows were supposed to open.
Boats 2020, an event created by British Marine after the 2020 Southampton Boat Show was cancelled in July due to the Coronavirus pandemic, was scheduled to run from 11-20 September.
The Ocean Village Boat Show, an MDL Marinas event that was supposed to run across the same dates, has also been cancelled in light of the council’s decision.
Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, said: “We are desperately disappointed that Boats 2020 will no longer be taking place, especially receiving the news at the eleventh hour before opening. A tremendous amount of work has been put in and it was heartening to see committed exhibitors on site today getting geared up for opening.
“British Marine has remained committed to staging this not-for-profit boat show to support the leisure marine industry and our host city of Southampton, and I am deeply saddened that it will now no longer be taking place. Alongside our exhibitors, we were ready to open a show that exceeded all safety requirements.
“We are truly perplexed as to why we are unable to run the show at least until Monday in line with the government restrictions imposed yesterday.
“The global pandemic and unprecedented times mean that the latest circumstances are beyond our control. Public health and safety come first and naturally, as the show organiser, British Marine must comply with all guidance.”
British Marine says it will be communicating with exhibitors and ticket holders.
On the Ocean Village Boat Show, sales and marketing director Tim Mayer said: “As we have done over many weeks, we are working with Southampton City Council’s events advisory committee to establish if we can open the show later in the week.
“We are naturally very disappointed for all of our exhibitors, and visitors, who have all made significant investments into the show.
“If we are able to open our show later this week, we will contact those who have previously booked to let them know what happens next, however, brokers may well make contact to rearrange appointments.”
Debbie Chase, Director of Public Health, Southampton City Council said: “Due to the increased spread of Covid-19 nationally, and the need for stronger control measures to reduce transmission both in Southampton and across the country, we, unfortunately, cannot allow the Ocean Village Boat Show and Boats 2020 to take place.
“In Southampton and the south east, we have seen a lower rate of Covid-19 transmissions since lockdown ended. However, the national picture shows a concerning rise in cases, and with these events set to attract around 20,000 people from different parts of the UK over a ten-day period, it’s important we act now to reduce the risk of infection.
“The decision, while regrettable, has been made after detailed analysis of the public health risks and discussions with our colleagues in the city, including the police.”
The news is another blow to exhibitors and showgoers alike after the 2020 Cannes Yachting Festival was cancelled at the end of August because of the pandemic.