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LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) - Notting Hill Carnival, billed as Europe's biggest street party, has been cancelled for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Friday.
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make," they said in a statement. "Everyone involved in the event desperately wants a return to the road where Carnival belongs but safety has to come first."
The Notting Hill Carnival traditionally takes place at the end of August.
The organisers said there was too much uncertainty about its feasibility this year after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week delayed the lifting of remaining social distancing rules and said he aimed to remove them on July 19.
Notting Hill Carnival 2021 has been cancelled.
In a statement issued today (18th June), the board at London's Notting Hill Carnival announced that this year's event, which was scheduled for the 29th and 30th August, will no longer take place amid concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"After lengthy consultations with our strategic partners, our Advisory Council and individual participating bands and sound systems, the board of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, the organising body of Notting Hill Carnival, has decided that this year's Carnival will not be on the streets due to the ongoing uncertainty and risk COVID-19 poses," the board said.
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make. Everyone involved in the event desperately wants a return to the road where Carnival belongs but safety has to come first and with the latest cautious announcement on the government’s ‘roadmap’, this is the only way to ensure that.
"In making this decision, we have considered our responsibilities to deliver a safe, spectacular, successful and sustainable Carnival. The conclusion is that with so much uncertainty, with time short for Carnivalists to prepare and the risk of eventual cancellation a real possibility, we must refocus our efforts for 2021."
The board also said that they will be looking for alternative ways to celebrate this year's event safely and responsibly. The 2020 edition of the carnival was hosted online as a digital event, after being cancelled for the first time since it started in 1966. Rooted in Caribbean culture, the annual event attracts two and a half million people every year, making it one of the world's largest street festivals.