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Social distancing and Covid-19 testing system ‘not feasible’ for World Ploughing Championships

National Ploughing Championships

The possibility of the World Ploughing Championships being staged in Laois later this year appears highly unlikely unless there is a major shift in the current Covid-19 restrictions.

The 68th staging of that event, plus the 90th National Ploughing Championships, are pencilled in for September 15-18 in Ratheniska.

The National Ploughing Championship could, according to Anna Marie McHugh, go ahead behind closed doors if Government restrictions prevent the hosting of events like that in September.

But the trade exhibition element, by far the most popular with the hundreds of thousands who attend, would not go ahead without massive changes to current guidelines.

The Assistant MD of the National Ploughing Association was speaking to Midlands 103 where she pointed to how other large scale events are being planned in other parts of Europe.

She said that they tend to involve social distancing and a testing facility for those who attend – elements that she sees as ‘not feasible’ for organisers.

Anna Marie said: “Having hand sanitizer available and compulsory mask wearing would not be a problem.

“But social distancing would be a huge issue for our event.

“While something that has been suggested for large scale events is to have a testing system in place.

“Patrons would either arrive with a vaccination cert or proof of a negative test.

“But the implementing of those procedures at something like the ploughing is just not feasible.”

Speaking in February, NPA chief Anna May McHugh said that a decision would be made in early May.

She said: “At the moment I am cautiously optimistic. We still hope to be able to hold it.

“We have to be guided by the Government and will take no risks but we all hope it will happen.”

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