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Pandemic Forces Council to Block Big Guildford Public Events

Published on: 10 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 12 Aug, 2020

The borough council has confirmed that all large events planned for 2020 on council-owned land are being postponed or cancelled as the safety of our residents, visitors and staff remains our top priority.

The decision follows recommendations from Surrey’s Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG), part of the county’s Local Resilience Forum, the government-initiated body with representatives from all public services, local authorities to health, fire and police.

Government guidance also states large-scale “mass gatherings” are banned, including “test” or “pilot” events.

The council is working with Guildford Shakespeare Company this month on a small-scale event to learn how public events can best be managed amid the pandemic. This will help support important events such as Remembrance Sunday and other community events in 2021.

Council leader Caroline Reeves (lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said: “The Covid outbreak has caused unimaginable changes for all of us and will continue to impact our lives for months and years. I am proud of how our borough has responded and supported each other throughout this most challenging time. Your community spirit has been inspiring and our officers’ dedication and hard work in keeping our essential services running is to be applauded.

“We understand how disappointing this news will be, not only to our residents who were looking forward to getting back to normal and enjoying their social lives but to our fantastic charities and voluntary organisations. Many of them rely heavily on events for their income and we know this will be a huge blow to them.

“We recognise and support the vital contribution many of these events bring to our communities, both for leisure and positive benefits on our health and wellbeing but also the contribution they make to our local charities who in turn are doing such great work to help our residents.

“But we must prioritise the safety of our residents and there is too great a risk in holding events while trying to maintain social distancing. Fewer people will be able to attend, which means in most situations that the event will also not be financially viable.

“Additional strain may also be put on emergency services who are already doing all they can to respond to the outbreak. We will keep our decision under review and when it is safe to have events again we will let you know and look forward to welcoming you back.

“A key part of the council’s Recovery Plan will be continuing to work with and help our voluntary and charity sectors in giving vital support to our community, and I hope we can get creative and think of ways we can get through this together.”

Cllr Reeves added: “One option would be to join the Guildford Community Lottery which we set up in 2018 as a simple and effective way for local good causes to raise money every week. As a good cause, you sign up for free, with no admin fees or any other charges, and encourage your supporters to buy a lottery ticket at £1 per ticket.

“This can be done easily online, and for every ticket sold you receive 50p. Each ticket has a 1-in-50 chance of winning every week, with a top prize of £25,000. Marketing support is available and extra incentives are also regularly added. Visit for more details.”

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Responses to Pandemic Forces Council to Block Big Guildford Public Events

  1. John Perkins Reply

    August 10, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    So they’re forced to tell everybody else what to do.

    When I lived in Germany I learned that it was pointless to ask an official a question as the answer would always be “No!”. Instead you had to challenge them to deny your right.

    The best example I have is of the grandfather of a friend trying to leave Germany in the 1930s: a ticket inspector said, “You are a Jew?” and he responded by rising up and aggressively demanding, “What do you think?”, at which the precious guard backed down. He was not alive when I met my friend, but he had not long died – in a free country.

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