RSL NSW cancels Anzac Day services amid coronavirus restrictions

CANCELLED: Dubbo Anzac Day commemorations will be cancelled following the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo: AMY McINTYRE
CANCELLED: Dubbo Anzac Day commemorations will be cancelled following the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

RSL NSW has cancelled all public Anzac Day commemoration services as coronavirus spreads across the state and country.

The organisation made the decision following discussions with the state government on Monday after social gatherings of more than 500 people were banned.

RSL NSW acting president Ray James said the "risk to vulnerable people during the current health situation is simply too high for these events to continue in their traditional format".

"Given the significant concerns around the spread of COVID-19, it would be irresponsible to allow such large gatherings as we see each year on Anzac Day to go ahead," he said

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly.

"The RSL has a responsibility to act in the best interests of veterans and the general public.

"In these uncertain times we must follow the advice of medical experts and do everything we can to protect the community."

The announcement comes after the Australian government banned social gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday and hefty fines apply for those who do hold such events.

"This acknowledges the fact that most Anzac Day events are open to all members of the community and therefore have the potential to attract crowds of over 500 people," Mr James said.

Mr James said the day would still be marked with the exact format still to be finalised.

"Anzac Day as a marker of our respect and admiration for Anzacs past and present will still be observed," Mr James said.

"Exactly what form this will take will be different from previous years, but as custodians of commemoration, the RSL will still honour the service and sacrifice of our brave servicemen and women.

"In these challenging times, we will remember them."

Mr James said the organisation would provide further updates on other Anazc Day-related activities including fundraising in the coming days.

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