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Would you go? Boat show in Canada plans COVID tests for everyone attending

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With shows and exhibitions a major and inevitable casualty of the worldwide pandemic, one of North America’s biggest boating events has come up with an enterprising solution for a ‘COVID-19-free’ event that could be a blueprint for events in the foreseeable future.

The Toronto International Boat Show, which attracts more than 70,000 visitors a year, has taken a proactive stance to save its show and proposed a plan that will involve the testing of every attendee before they are allowed into the venue. It has asked the local authority to consider the initiative that will see approved technicians and nurses administer daily tests via saliva or finger pricks before attendees are allowed to enter the show hall. The results will be delivered within 15 minutes. The rapid testing would be included in the admission fees and be required to attend the show. Those showing negative test results will be able to attend the show, while those coming up positive will be directed to a public health designated room outside the show floor.

Linda Waddell

President and Show Director Linda Waddell said: “The Province of Ontario and City of Toronto restrictions continue to limit gatherings of more than 50 people indoors. This limit is expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, and we all recognise this is not viable for an event that attracts more than 70,000 people annually. “Based on the recent trend of increased cases and forecasts, we are not optimistic that the COVID-19 environment will improve enough to allow for approval of attendance limits that meet our show needs, even with an exceptional plan for safe reopening. “While we know Ontario is doing everything possible to limit the spread and expand reopenings, we also know that the virus will be active for a long time.

“Due to what we expect is on the horizon for everyone in Ontario, we have developed a plan that provides a solution. We are all learning that living with the virus will be part of the foreseeable future. Therefore, we have advanced our plan to include newly developed protocols that deliver a COVID-19-free show. “Our plan outlines attending the Toronto Boat Show with the peace of mind that no one in the building will have COVID-19. If approved the event will be the safest location for people gathering together in 2021.”

Next year’s event is set to take place from January 15th to 24th and Waddell admits that the show is in a race against time to get its plan approved by the appropriate authorities. “We are four months away and need a decision sooner rather than later, but unfortunately governments do not move that quickly. “We only have a short window and could move the show into February, but it has to be staged before March and the start of the summer season.”

The Toronto Boat show is attended each year by Angling International’s Canada correspondent, Italo Labignan, who hosts fishing seminars at the event.