Following the Government’s ‘Roadmap’ announcement last week, members of Appleby Horse Fair Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) met on Monday (1 March) to discuss the implications for the 2021 Fair.
The Government has stated that ‘Step 4’, which is expected to include the removal of limits on social contact, will not be implemented until 21 June at the earliest. Prior to this date, outdoor gatherings of more than 30 people are expected to remain illegal.
As such, Appleby Horse Fair cannot take place on 3 June.
However, Appleby Horse Fair MASCG is considering other options including the potential for the Fair to take place later in the year, after ‘Step 4’ is implemented by the Government.
Chair of Appleby Horse Fair MASCG and Deputy Chief Executive of Eden District Council, Les Clark, said: “Monday’s meeting was attended by public bodies and Gypsy and Traveller representatives who all agreed it will not be possible, given the restrictions which will still be in place, for the Fair to go ahead in the first week of June.
“It is hoped that, by the end of June, large events and gatherings can safely take place across the country. As such, it is correct that the MASCG considers whether the Fair could be held later in the summer.
“If a suitable date is identified, it will be announced as soon as possible – potentially by the end of this month – in order to give everyone, including the settled and the Gypsy and Traveller communities, time to make any preparations they need.
“I would, however, stress that all members of the MASCG are in agreement that any proposals are completely dependent on the public health situation as we approach the summer. If the public health picture deteriorates, necessitating further Government action, the event could still not go ahead in 2021.
“Ensuring people’s safety is always the number one priority of the MASCG.”