The Albury Gold Cup carnival will be the biggest short-term casualty of the coronavirus spread following the federal government decision to prevent mass gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday.
The city's biggest social event, which attracts more than 12,000 people each year, has been cancelled for the second year in a row in a doomsday scenario for the club hoping to recover quickly from last year's event being abandoned.
In a crushing blow, Albury Racing Club chief executive Steve Hetherton said the club had no option other than to follow the federal government advice.
"Racing NSW will advise the club if racing planned for the Thursday and Friday will still go ahead, with only industry participants being able to attend," he said.
"It's extremely disappointing that we are unable to showcase our carnival especially on the back of the massive setback caused by losing the 2019 cup day racing.
"Our sponsors, members and corporate partners have remained extremely loyal and we feel for them as well.
"The club will be making a full refund to anyone who pre-purchased corporate hospitality, public hospitality and general admission tickets."
Earlier on Friday, the club had hoped the meeting would go ahead with a request to those who felt sick to stay away.
But the situation dramatically escalated mid-afternoon when Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed gatherings of more than 500 people be cancelled from Monday.
Major events in the region this weekend, Chryslers on the Murray, Dederang Picnic races and Opera In The Alps, are going ahead.
Chryslers on the Murray co-ordinator Rod Taylor said the mass gatherings ban start meant there would be no change to the event which had brought an estimated 4000 people to Albury-Wodonga this weekend.
Opera In The Alps organisers said they had acted in line with the government advice issued yesterday.
A spokeswoman said steps had been taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus including extra soap and hand sanitizer and signs to remind people to use good hygiene.
"The stage is up and we're looking forward to a wonderful event," she said.
The Ovens and Murray Football-Netball League season is due to start on March 28 with a one-off match between Albury Tigers and Wodonga Raiders at the Albury Sportsground which would draw more than 500 people.
"This is an unprecedented set of circumstances which is changing by the hour and the O and M will always keep the health and well-being of our players, officials and fans foremost in our decision-making," O and M chairman David Sinclair said.
"The league will seek advice from AFL Victoria, AFLNEB and Netball Victoria before forming a response to the evolving situation."
AFLNEB general John O'Donohue said leagues should be preparing for disruption.
"As everyone would be aware, the situation is still developing worldwide and as a region, we should expect a level of disruption however, to what level is yet, unknown," he said.
"AFLNEB will continue to communicate with clubs, umpires, leagues and Auskick centres as to the advice and directions being received via the AFL and the World Health Organisation."
Promoter Duane McDonald said if the event was cancelled then patrons would receive refunds.
"A lot of people have spent a lot of money through booking accommodation and holidays and we take into account," he said.
But another rock music festival, Under The Southern Stars, has been postponed due to coronavirus.
LIVE, Bush, Stone Temple Pilots were scheduled to perform at the Yarrawonga Showgrounds on April 12 with support from Rose Tattoo and Electric Mary.
Concert promoter Andrew McManus confirmed the decision to postpone the event.
"In light of the current global health crisis, we feel that it is imperative to protect the Under The Southern Stars family and proceed in a clear and calm manner.
"All tickets already purchased will be valid for the new festival dates in 2021."
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