NAFA and Fringe Festival postponed due to COVID-19

Date published: 19 March 2020

Townsville City Council regrets to advise that this year’s North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) and the Northern Fringe Festival have been postponed due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Federal Government’s advice about non-essential gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak has led Council to make this decision.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said public health was Council’s primary concern during this outbreak.

“I’m saddened to have to say that NAFA and the Northern Fringe Festival 2020 have been postponed to reduce the risks involved with mass gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Cr Hill said.

“Council’s first priority is our community. We are taking the advice of the Federal Government seriously and have had to postpone or cancel a number of events across the city to attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Cr Hill said postponing the July event also was the best financial decision for the city.

“NAFA is a million-dollar event, and includes Council having to make deposits for artists and venues,” Cr Hill said.

“There is some uncertainty about how long mass gathering restrictions will stay in place, and whether the restrictions could last until July - this is why Council has had to make the decision to postpone NAFA 2020.”

Council has both pandemic plans and business continuity plans which were activated in February when the virus first hit global headlines.

The pandemic plan includes making sure IT systems are tested and ready for appropriate staff members to work from home, implementing corporate travel bans and increasing hygiene in the workplace.

Cr Hill has urged anyone wanting information about COVID-19 to visit Queensland Health’s website.