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Green light for St Pat’s

Saturday, 14th March, 2020

By Callum Marshall

St Pat’s will still be taking place today after a ban on non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people was announced to be starting on Monday in response to coronavirus.

Yesterday, reports emerged that the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, had advised federal and state governments to cancel all gatherings of more than 500 people in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

That announcement had the St Pat’s Race Committee worried alongside around 50 volunteers who’d been working tirelessly to get today’s big race event going.

However, an announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison later in the day highlighted that the federal government would adopt that advice from Monday, clearing the local race event to take place.

Vice President of the St Pat’s Race Committee Andre Schmidt said the news came as a huge relief for everyone involved in setting up the event.

“It’s a giant sigh of relief for the committee who’ve worked so hard for so long,” he said.

“So much work has gone into preparation for this race meeting.

“If we were to cancel today, a lot of those visitors would pack up and go home.

“So that would obviously have an impact on the local economy and a lot of events being held around it including the trots tonight (last night).

“Also recovery day, bands and whatever else is going on around the city.”

Mr Schmidt said they’d already sold about 2000 tickets and encouraged the community to come out and support the event, particularly given the uncertain nature of future events of similar size for the near future.

“After Monday we don’t know what the immediate future’s going to hold for a number of events, (so) this is an opportunity for people in Broken Hill to come out (today) and have a day out and support St Pat’s.

“It’s going to be 24 degrees, a beautiful day and the hub’s open. 

“It’s been fixed up, we’ve got more shade up (and we’ve got) really good fields.”

Mr Schmidt added that the committee were in regular contact with Racing NSW who was guiding them on what to do.

Had the event not gone ahead, he said, it would’ve been very costly.

“The great can of worms was if the race meeting was cancelled, or if we had to go ahead with an event with less than 500 people, we would have lost well over $100,000,” said Mr Schmidt.

“That puts you on very thin ice as far as the organisation goes because you rely on the people to come out and support you.

“Thankfully, now that this announcement’s been made, the event will go ahead.”

And yes there would be plenty of proper sanitary products within the toilets, he added.

“We’ve got all the gear in our toilets you could find anywhere,” said Mr Schmidt.

“Plenty of toilet paper. Everyone will be catered for.”

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