At the Stourbridge Navigation Trust committee meeting of 20th May, after much discussion the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Open Weekend was taken. We know that will no doubt disappointment all of those who actively participate in this annual event and also members of the public who flock in their thousands to enjoy this weekend with us in Canal Street.
Clearly the lingering uncertainty of Covid-19 was a significant factor in the decision as we felt it would be impossible to control numbers in attendance and to maintain requisite social distancing measures that may remain in place – of course we would also need to ensure our insurance policies covered Covid eventualities after an in-depth risk assessment. Many of our visitors to the Open Weekend are younger people and we can’t be sure that vaccination programme would have reached this demographic group. This year we also have neighbouring activities to consider – specifically the likely unavailability of the carparking area reserved for traders on a space in Old Wharf Road where housing development will potentially soon commence.
We have also seen significant growth in ‘traffic’ by members of the public legitimately setting off on cycle rides, walks and visits to the Old Wharf public house from Canal Street, making it increasingly difficult to manage access at the entrance to the street.
At a practical level we also have less time available to organise such a large scale event so with all things being considered, with great reluctance, it was unanimously decided to cancel this years event.