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The 2020 Royal St. John’s Regatta has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee president Bradley Power and course captain Noelle Thomas-Kennell made the announcement Thursday morning.

“It is with great disappointment that we announce the official cancellation of the 2020 Royal St. John’s Regatta,” said Power, “The Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee is in full agreement with the direction provided by government and health officials regarding large-scale events and will continue to take all necessary actions to support the protection of our community in this difficult time. We have been in regular contact with the Placentia, Harbour Grace and Humber Valley Regatta Committees and they will be making a similar announcement in the coming days.”

The Royal St. John’s Regatta is held annually on the first Wednesday in August (weather permitting) and is the oldest continuing sporting event in North America having celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2018. It is also the largest tourism event in Newfoundland and Labrador each year, drawing crowds of up to 50,000.

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Although we are disheartened that there will be no Royal St. John’s Regatta in 2020, the health and safety of our stakeholders is our first priority,” said Thomas-Kennell. “While we are proud of our 202 years of tradition, such tradition will never be at the expense of our community’s health and safety; we will support all continued efforts against the spread of the Coronavirus.” 

The Regatta Committee will provide details on a new consultation process in the coming days. Rowers, coxswains, managers, crew representatives, family members, sponsors, vendors and the general public will be invited to provide input on the operation of the regatta once public health emergency restrictions are lifted and mass gatherings can take place again. The consultation will be held online and participants will be required to register in advance.

“Given the history and magnitude of our events, the Royal St. John’s Regatta has many stakeholders and we value their input immensely,” said Jennifer Windsor-Browne, Director of Rowing, “When deemed safe by health authorities, we want to ensure a Regatta event encompasses everything necessary to make it worthwhile to all participants; as an athlete, supporter or member of the public.”

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