KNYSNA NEWS - Organisers of the Simola Hillclimb have now officially called off the 2020 event despite it being initially earmarked for a date later in the year, and postponed the popular race to 6 to 9 May 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is with a great deal of sadness that we have been forced to make this decision,” said managing director Ian Shrosbree of the Knysna Speed Festival.
“It was our intention to run the event in September this year, and we had put plans in place to do so, but it has become apparent in our ongoing discussions with all role players that it will not be possible to host the event during that time," said Shrosbree.
“As things stand there is no certainty as to what the situation will be in September but all indications are that mass gatherings will still not be allowed by then. Our local authorities have informed us that they expect the effects of the virus to remain significant in September, and they therefore cannot support the event taking place."
He also noted that the uncertainty impacts international competitors and visitors who may not be allowed to travel, sponsor partners who would not be able to host staff and guests if the health risk is high or if leisure travel is still banned, and the Simola Hotel which is unsure if it will be allowed to open by then.
“With so much uncertainty, combined with the real health risks that visitors to the event could still be exposed to, there is unfortunately no other option but to postpone the event to 2021. The health of our employees, sponsor staff, competitors and their support crew, spectators, suppliers and the Knysna residents is the most important issue to consider at this time," Shrosbree said.
This unfortunate, very difficult situation forced on the Simola Hillclimb has severe implications for many people associated with the event. The knock-on effect for those that rely on the annual race and other cancelled events as a source of income is vast.
From suppliers and vendors to permanent and temporary staff, the charity organisations that are supported (and the beneficiaries that they support), as well as the town’s businesses, accommodation establishments and tourist activities will all feel the blow, and some may not survive this crisis.
"We send them all our best wishes as they navigate these difficult times," Shrosbree said.
Knysna survives on tourism, therefore events such as the cancelled Knysna Oyster Festival and Knysna Motor Show are going to be more important than ever to the town in its efforts to bounce back from the pandemic. "With the Simola Hillclimb being integral to this, we look forward to being able to host the event in 2021 and helping the town to recover from the impact of Covid-19."
Dear reader, As your local news provider, we have the duty of keeping you factually informed on Covid-19 developments. As you may have noticed, mis- and disinformation (also known as “fake news”) is circulating online. Group Editors (publications and online platforms) is determined to filter through the masses of information doing the rounds and to separate truth from untruth in order to keep you adequately informed. Local newsrooms follow a strict pre-publication fact-checking protocol. A national task team has been established to assist in bringing you credible news reports on Covid-19.
'We bring you the latest Knysna, Garden Route news'