The city of Cannes and the Regional Health Authority (ARS) has decided not to allow the Cannes Yachting Festival to go ahead.
In late July, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester confirmed that trade shows could be held after Sept. 1 without a restriction on the number of visitors. That cleared the way for Cannes organizers to proceed, create a sanitation plan, and welcome the international yachting community to what was expected to be the first event since COVID cancelled most global gatherings beginning in mid-March.
On Aug. 11, however, the French government reversed this announcement because of a worsening of the health situation. Events of more than 5,000 people are banned until after Oct. 30 in France.
“The Yachting Festival team, in order to be able to urgently decide whether or not to hold the show, on the one hand, has questioned a significant part of the shipyards who declared themselves in favour of maintaining the show by a large majority despite the latest developments and, on the other hand, filed an emergency exemption request with the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture,” Reed Expositions France stated in a news release announcing the cancellation of the show.
On Aug. 17, a meeting with the prefectural authorities, the city of Cannes, the Regional Health Authority (ARS), safety services and Reed Expositions France determined that Reed’s enhanced protocol was deemed satisfactory, which gave hope for a positive response, the company stated.
Unfortunately, following a new meeting on site on Aug. 20, the Prefect — the only person empowered to rule in finality — decided not to give the exemption, thus making it impossible to hold the Yachting Festival.
“This final decision does not call into question the conclusions expressed on 17 August on the health protocol, qualified as ‘serious’ by the prefect, but is mainly due to the recent deterioration of the health situation in general and in Cannes in particular, and the fear of this declining further,” the company stated.
“This decision is a huge disappointment for the entire nautical industry, with exhibitors in the lead, the City of Cannes and its professionals, the show’s service providers and the Reed team, who have worked together relentlessly for months to prepare the 2020 edition in the best possible conditions taking into account the context,” show director Sylvie Ernoult said. “The implementation of the health protocol that we drew up, certified by APAVE and recognized as completely satisfactory by the prefecture’s services and the Regional Health Authority (ARS), would have made the 2020 Yachting Festival one of the safest events in terms of health in France. Also, it is with great surprise and incomprehension that we take note of the prefect’s decision.”
The 2021 show is scheduled for Sept. 7-12, 2021